Is it just iPhone / Apple Tracking you?

I see you......
I know word's been out for some time now.  Finally, I have another reason to justify my refusal to purchase an iPhone.

Many hardware and software products and internet applications are developed these days for ease of use and transparency.  Unfortunately, this leaves a window open for these applications to do things we aren't even aware of, that could prove less than useful or completely unwanted.

A team of security researchers in the UK discovered mystery files within the Apple iPhone that are used to track the user’s location at all times—without their knowledge.

Map shows location data collected from an iPhone that had been used in the southwest of England
Apparently Apple began recording user details in June of 2010, which would tie in with the introduction of Apple’s iOS 4 update. No such tracking technology was found on any of the Android smartphones tested by this group of researchers.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.

 This came to my attention when I heard from my woman about a friend on facebook(who was pregnant) told nobody she was having her baby when the time came(probably because she was in the hospital).  It appears she logged in to Facebook(which I have not and will not use), not knowing her iPhone even did this, it revealed she was at the hospital and posted her location.  She was just looking and didn't even make a post or comment.  That being said.  As I mentioned, I don't use Facebook so you may want to check your settings so everyone that can see you on Facebook can't know where you are.

Privacy? Whats that?
The existence of tracking files within the iPhone has set off alarms with privacy groups, with Privacy International director Simon Davies labeling the discovery as “worrying” before saying Apple’s failure to provide iPhone users with notice or control shows “an ignorance about privacy at the design stage.”  It also makes you wonder, what other products have such "Transparent features"? 
It would appear Jobs & Apple claim they are not pooling the data for some devious use and may be required to help support upcoming user features. 

I came across these questions asked by US Senator AL Franklin in a letter written to Apple.  You must admit.  All good questions:

The letter concludes with a list of questions.
1. Why does Apple collect and compile this location data? Why did Apple choose to initiate tracking this data in its iOS 4 operating system?
2. Does Apple collect and compile this location data for laptops?
3. How is this data generated? (GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi triangulation, etc.)
4. How frequently is a user's location recorded? What triggers the creation of a record of someone's location?
5. How precise is this location data? Can it track the users location to 50 m, 100 m, etc.?
6. Why is this data not encrypted? What steps will Apple take to encrypt the data?
7. Why were Apple consumers never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner? Why did Apple not seek affirmative consent before doing so?
8. Does Apple believe that this conduct is permissible under the terms of its privacy policy?
9. To whom, if anyone, including Apple, has this data been disclosed? When and why were these disclosures made?

You have to admit.  This is welcome news to jealous spouses and law enforcement.  So to all you Apple iPhone users congratulations! Any one who gains access to your phone or computer could potentially have access to your whereabouts for the last year.  

Hope you've been good.  Watch your back!

If you're concerned about what your computer has stored.  Check out this link.  It goes to the site of the researchers who discovered this.  It includes an open source app to see what exactly has been stored from this tracking information.  Well I suppose if you think your spouse is cheating or you're just plain nosey this may prove a valuable tool.   :)

iPhone Tracker App