Science and Technology : Hidden smartphone setting maps your every move

anAfrican

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SEATTLE -- It's supposed to provide iPhone users the ability to see where they've been, but a hidden setting could also allow someone with access to the device see where the user has been and map their movements.

It's called "locations services," and many applications use it to provide location-based information for various iPhone apps.

Customers with concerns about a phone recording and even broadcasting their location have learned to turn off location services for particular applications except those needed to enable mapping programs and security measures.

Those actions do not disable a deeper setting in the Apple IOS 7 mobile operating system which tracks a user's frequent locations. If the wrong person got his hands on that device and was able to access it, he can easily learn the daily habits of the phone's owner.

Students at the University of Washington volunteered their phones to see how easy it can be to see where the device has been. The frequent locations setting creates a map, and tapping on a specific locations reveals the dates and times of a particular visit and even how long you were there.

The students were taken aback that it was so easy to track their history.

"That's kind of crazy," Sebastian Aste said. "It's interesting how accessible your life can be."

"The chance that that would happen, that someone would take my phone and try and track me down seems really, really small," Abby Skifstad said. "But it makes me uneasy thinking about that."

Apple is not the only phone manufacturer with this kind of setting. Google does something similar with Android phones where opting in to any location based app, like Google Now or Google Maps, turns on the phone's location tracking.

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Gorilla

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It's not really hidden at all. Google even allows you to look at this data itself that your phone has collected with location services.

Both operating systems have you opt in to use it and have easy ways to turn it off and explain what happens when you do.

On iOS 7 this is explicitly under the privacy tab too.

What they should note is that the precision is tracking much better with phones that now have GPS, GLONASS, and wifi network capability instead of just relying on radio contact with cell towers.
 

Enki

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It's not really hidden at all. Google even allows you to look at this data itself that your phone has collected with location services.

Both operating systems have you opt in to use it and have easy ways to turn it off and explain what happens when you do.

On iOS 7 this is explicitly under the privacy tab too.

What they should note is that the precision is tracking much better with phones that now have GPS, GLONASS, and wifi network capability instead of just relying on radio contact with cell towers.

The thing that get me brutha G, is that I know many things can be turned on, off, and downloaded without our knowledge. There are programs already in tech. devices that all it take is the right signal to be transmitted.

Peace!
 

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