Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is Your iPhone Tracking You?

by: Dr. Steffen Schmidt
As if life were not insecure enough, every day there are new claims that our security and privacy are at risk. The following was posted just hours ago and raises some interesting privacy issues with iphone use. Of course, we have indicated in previous posts (and in our first book “Who is You”) that wireless phones and computing is not secure at all unless encrypted.

“As I sit here applying a new layer of Reynolds tin foil to my international hat of conspiracy, its been proven that Apple tracks iPhone usage and tracks IEMI numbers of all their iPhones worldwide. Hidden in the code of the “Stocks” and “Weather” widgets is a string that sends the IMEI of your phone to a specialized URL that Apple collects.

When the widgets perform a query an IMEI is handed off to Apple’s servers:

dgw?imei=%@&apptype=finance

This let[s] Apple knows which app you are using when connecting with your iPhone. Obviously, they know the IP address you were using, the stocks companies you are interested [in], and so they can track down their customers all around the world. This also proves that there are probably other apps that do the same. Weather.app is also acting the same way. (Offset 13AE0)

Any attempts to modify the URL to exclude the IMEI information will not allow you to retrieve any information in the “Stocks” and “Weather” apps. It is still unknown if any other applications leak information to Apple HQ.

And did you know you actually consented to this gross invasion of privacy?

When you interact with Apple, we may collect personal information relevant to the situation, such as your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and contact preferences; your credit card information and information about the Apple products you own, such as their serial numbers and date of purchase; and information relating to a support or service issue.

Obviously “Weather” is kinda benign, but Apple knowing your Stock habits, isn’t that a little personal? What’s next, they read your email too? Now who thinks I’m crazy?”


This is posted on the following web site and while we cannot verify the accuracy we will be more careful using our iPhone until this is cleared up.

http://uneasysilence.com/archive/2007/11/12686/
The reality of life in the early 21st century is that we should suspect that most of what we do is being monitored, tracked, scrutinized, and recorded. Hopefully the privacy intruder is relatively benign such as we assume that Apple and iphone folks are,. Unfortunately often it is malignant and dangerous to our personal health, safety and financial protection.

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