Thursday, April 21st, 2011
My god there really are some complete and utter morons about. Now I appreciate keeping location data indefinitely is not ideal but please … Sky News is reporting that “…your iPhone is secretly tracking you every where you go…” yet a minute later they complain that the iPhone they tested did not track the Sky building or the users home address !!!
Out of the many tables in the db the main two appear to be CellLocation and WifiLocation. Mmmmm ok so they record the cell location so not really where I am but the location of the cell towers that are around me. Indeed if I look at the map of these locations many are places where I don’t think I have been. So why record them ?
Well seems that it’s all down to the battery, querying cell towers uses battery power faster than a database lookup. Now that was easy. So what’s the big issue. Well looks like the database person did their job.
But the programmers might have cocked up a bit. The above is a trigger in the database which decreases the record count every time a record is deleted, but the records are not being deleted. Now I suspect that when they tested this feature they used a low number of days (say 1) to keep these records, then when they were happy it was working changed to a larger number. Maybe the number was so large nothing gets deleted. Or they may just have cocked up and commented out the code to delete while testing and forgot to put it back in.
Either way while this isn’t an ideal situation it is compounded by people who know very little about the subject being dragged out to comment on the situation as experts. The situation is not helped by the misleading statements of Warden and Allan saying it is “unclear” why Apple are collecting the data. These so called “security researchers”, one who allegedly worked for Apple didn’t think of the possibility that this is data caching ?
If you think this is bad you really aren’t going to like some of the Apps like Pandora
UPDATE This is a very good read and much better than my ramblings http://ericfadden.com/2011/04/iphone-location-tracking-consolidated-db-and-a-rush-to-judgement/