One more example of Apple's close instinctual resemblance to Big Brother – besides the paternalistic moralization of its control of content and the patronizing attitude of its you-don't-need-to-know-how-it-works interface:
Rather than store location data from the GPS in iPhones and iPads in Temp files that are deleted frequently, or even storing it in encrypted files where it would be inaccessible to intruders, iOS devices store data about where you've carried them in unencrypted files that are included in automatic backups and are available to anyone with physical access to the device or data.
Even better, the researchers who publicized the feature wrote an app taking advantage of it, painting your travels (or those of the object of your surveillance) on a neat little map.
The app they released and talk they presented at the Where 2.0 location-services conference in San Francisco this week only looks at movements by day or week, but the data itself tracks location down to the second, all of which are timestamped so you can place someone not only at a specific place, but the very second they arrived there, they said.
MacWorld's Dan Moren found that it also consolidates itself as you move from device to device.
His includes tracks from his previous iPhone as well as the iPhone 4 he carries now.
In that famous "1984" ad was it Apple or IBM that was supposed to be Big Brother? I thought it was IBM, but these days it's hard to remember.