iPhone Tracking

Pursuing iPhone Thief, Officer Knew Right Buttons to Push is a cute little tale of a thief’s comeuppance and a perfect microcosm of the tradeoffs between security and privacy. The article relates how a New York City cop used the Find My iPhone app to locate and recover a stolen iPhone (and arrest the thief) in less than 30 minutes. The app is free to download and install and simple to use: enter the Apple ID and Apple Store password of the target phone in the app’s search screen, select Go, and the phone’s location pops up on Google Maps. You can track the phone as its location changes, lock it, and play a submarine-sonar beeping sound or send and display a message on it. All that’s required is that the target phone be signed into and have Track My Phone enabled on Apple’s iCloud.

And that’s where one trades privacy for security. Once activated anyone who knows the owner’s Apple ID and password can track the phone’s location. My wife left the house early this morning to play tennis. After reading the article I checked her location–indeed she was at the tennis facility. (Current iPhone technology does not allow me to verify that she was indeed “playing tennis” there.)

Comforting, or creepy?

7 thoughts on “iPhone Tracking”

  1. The only method to fully turn off GPS would be to turn off your phone. When your phone is on and trying to pick up signal from signal towers, a rough estimated area can be generated through triangulation. Sounds like the movies, right?

    If someone wants to track you, there are certainly ways – and they’re not reserved for federal agents. However, it certainly takes quite a bit of effort. Are you worth their time to get creeped? If not, it’s certainly comforting. If you are, then hopefully you’re aware of how vulnerable technologies are in leaking your privacy.

    Stuff like say… browsers? 
    http://www.ghacks.net/2010/02/01/how-unique-is-your-web-browsers-fingerprint/

  2. This reminds me of a similar story about how hackers could
    turn camera head in computers on and recording without the computer owner’s
    awareness, sounds creepy, right? But I have never seen anyone having problem with
    computers with camera head. Of course hacking into other people’s computer is illegal,
    but anyone who owns a computer with camera head has to face the risk; that they
    may be spied on every time they open the computer. Yes, camera head make our lives
    easier just as iCloud and iPhones, but there is just a price that everyone has
    to pay for the convenience they brought.

  3. It’s really a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply shared this useful info
    with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

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