On Wednesday, researchers from O’Reilly claimed to discover a tracking feature in iPhones and 3G iPads that reportedly sent location data back to Apple. Another researcher, this time from Katana Forensics, says otherwise. “Apple is not harvesting this data from your device,” said Kata Forensics lead engineer Alex Levinson. “This is data on the device that you as the customer purchased and unless [O'Reilly] can show concrete evidence supporting this claim – network traffic analysis of connections to Apple servers – I rebut this claim in full. Through my research in this field and all traffic analysis I have performed, not once have I seen this data traverse a network.” Levinson argues that the “hidden tracking file” is neither new nor a secret. He wrote about it in a book by Sean Morrissey titled iOS Forensic Analysis, which was published on December 5th, 2010, and says that the collected data is simply used by native iOS apps like Maps and Camera. If you’re still worried Apple is collecting the info – that you likely agreed to provide anyway — Levinson even cites a California state law that says: “No person or entity in this state shall use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person.” Hit the jump for more from Alex Levinson.
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 →
enTourage announced three major deals with publishers that will bring thousands of new book titles to its dual-screen eDGe ereader. Targeting the higher education market, the trio includes Cengage Learning which publishes a wide variety of educational content under brands such as Delmar, Heinle, and more, O’Reilly which offers over 1,ooo titles in technology and programming, and the University of Chicago Press which has over 1000 academic titles in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. With these agreements, enTourage is making a play for the academic market and is hoping to succeed where Amazon and its Kindle DX failed. Anyone on the way to college interested in this electronic reading and note taking system? More →