This is bad. Really bad.
The two men discovered that since the introduction of iOS 4, Apple devices have been tracking and storing the user’s location along with a time stamp — essentially logging a user’s movements since upgrading to iOS 4. Bear in mind, this data-logging is done completely in the background and without the user’s approval or knowledge.
Breaking the story on O’Reilly, Allan wrote, “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.”
Worse yet, the data that’s being stored is unencrypted and unprotected — leaving it out in the open on any machine you’ve synced with your iOS device!!! Switched jobs since syncing your iPhone to your work computer? Met a gal at a bar, went home with her, and transferred an album from her laptop to your iPhone? Guess what: They could easily see where you live, eat, work, visit, etc.
“Anybody with access to this file knows where you’ve been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released,” Allan writes.
Allan and Warden built a program called iPhone Tracker which shows the data being stored and tracks it on a map. Here’s an example of the program in action and the data being gathered: