Android gathering location data too, researcher develops harvesting tool

By on April 22, 2011 at 1:07 PM.

Android gathering location data too, researcher develops harvesting tool

As enraged as you may or may not be over the fact that your phone is tracking your location, you have to admit… it’s a pretty interesting story. The Wall Street Journal has filed a new report stating that both Apple and Google are collecting location data from their smartphone users — deflecting some of the public outrage in Google’s direction as well. “According to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour,” writes the Journal. Researcher Mike Castleman has developed a program that will harvest and parse location data stored on your Android device. The script isn’t quite as user-friendly as its iOS counterpart — you need root access to your device and some command line experience (as opposed to just clicking on a pretty icon and seeing your coordinates on a map) — but it will present you with a formatted location list. Castleman notes that the code used to collect location is “no longer open from Google” and that the data collected gets “pruned” when new location information is added. “Following the latest days internet outrage/overreaction to the revelation that iPhone has a cache for its location service, I decided to have look what my Android devices caches for the same function,” Castleman writes. If you’re interested in trying to squeeze the location information from your Android handset, hit the jump. The necessary links are waiting for you. More →

96 Comments

Apple stealthily recording, storing GPS position of iPhone, 3G iPad users [video]

By on April 20, 2011 at 11:18 AM.

Apple stealthily recording, storing GPS position of iPhone, 3G iPad users [video]

Several researchers at O’Reilly have discovered an extremely troubling feature of iPhones and 3G iPads running Apple’s iOS 4. In a blog post and accompanying video, the site details that Apple is storing the GPS coordinates of cellular iDevices locally, in an unencrypted and unprotected file. “Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps,” reads the post. “We’re not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it’s clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations.” O’Reilly goes on to note that along with a list of timestamped GPS coordinates, the file also contains a list of Wi-Fi access points that the affected device has been in range of. “Anybody with access to this file knows where you’ve been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released,” the brief continues. The file in question — named consolidated.db — is present in the backup file created when syncing a cellular iOS device with iTunes, and, obviously, on the iOS device itself. “Why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it — or not — are important questions that need to be explored,” writes the team. Apple’s security team did not respond to O’Reilly‘s request for comment. The video made by the researchers is after the break. More →

91 Comments

Nokia-owned Navteq acquires Trapster

By on December 13, 2010 at 1:09 PM.

Nokia-owned Navteq acquires Trapster

Navteq, a mapping and navigation solutions company owned by Nokia, has acquired California-based Trapster according to a Reuters report. The somewhat controversial move suggests that future navigation solutions from Nokia might integrate Trapster’s product. Trapster provides a location-based service that alerts motorists equipped with its iOS or Android app when they approach known police speed traps. The company’s speed trap location data is completely user-generated, and the service claims to currently have 9.4 million users. The purpose of the service, in a nutshell, is to help users disobey traffic laws without getting caught. It then further endangers users along with the pedestrians and motorists around them by encouraging people to divert their attention from the road to manually report speed traps they pass during their travels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 9,479 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2009 involving speeding, resulting in 10,591 deaths. More →

23 Comments