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iPhone users ... kiss your privacy goodbye !!

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posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 01:11 AM
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Whatever happened to a mobile (cell) phones reason for existence being nothing more than to make and receive phone calls ?

As if our rights to private security wasn't being eroded quickly enough in this online age, seems like the iPhone users are being hit particularly hard.

I've just come across this very interesting, yet deeply disturbing, article in the Sydney Morning Herald
Every click you take, they'll be watching you
which describes in sufficient detail the surprisingly huge amount of private information relating to the phone's user/owner that is being retained and stored internally ... so much info in fact, the extent of which the average Iphone owner is not even aware of.
This surreptitiously stored information can potentially be accessed and retrieved by police forensic technicians and in some criminal investigations in which the owner is being charged with having committed a crime, be used directly against that owner as evidence by which to obtain a successful prosecution.


According to the article, the very popularity of the iPhone has opened up a burgeoning field of forensic study dealing specifically with data retrieval from iPhones, the demographics of those who own them and what the phone's technology has recorded during its use by the owner.

As stated by Sam Brothers, a mobile-phone forensic researcher with US Customs and Border Protection, who teaches law-enforcement agents how to retrieve information from iPhones in criminal cases ...



''Very, very few people have any idea how to actually remove data from their phone" ... it may look like everything's gone,'' he said. ''But for anybody who's got a clue, retrieving that information is easy.''



To show just how seriously law-enforcement agencies are becoming regarding data retrieval from iPhone users, two years ago, a former hacker, Jonathan Zdziarski, decided law-enforcement agencies might need help retrieving data from the devices.
It didn't take long for an initial 15-page "how-to" manual that he wrote to evolve into a 144-page book titled "iPhone Forensics". As a result of the wealth of retrieval info disclosed by Zdziarski, he was approached by law-enforcement agencies nationwide to teach them just how much information is stored in iPhones and other smartphones - and how that data can be gathered for evidence in criminal cases.

Since it's release in June, and according to Apple company figures, an estimated 1.7 million people have bought the latest iPhone version ... and prior to that, Apple had sold more than 50 million of the earlier version iPhones.
And according to John Minor, a communications expert and member of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, simply clearing out user histories isn't enough to clean out the vast repository of stored data within the device.



''With the iPhone, even if it's in the deleted bin, it may still be in the database,'' he said. ''Much is contained deep within the phone.''


Most iPhone users are probably aware that their phone can take and store a picture of their iPhone's screen, however a greater majority will be completely unaware that the phone itself automatically shoots and stores hundreds of such images as the user closes out one application to use another. Those 'automatic' screenshots are stored as usable and retrievable data.

According to Minor,


''Those screen snapshots can contain images of emails or proof of activities that might be inculpatory, or exculpatory''



As well as surreptitious screen shots, most iPhone users also agree to let the device locate them so they can use fully the phone's mapping functions, as well as various global positioning system applications.
However what most users don't realize when activating this tracking function, is that it's also recording and storing the users GPS co-ordinates.'

Law enforcement agencies already use phone call histories and text messages as evidence in homicide cases. But Zdziarski, who has helped federal and state law-enforcement agencies gather evidence, said those elements are just scratching the surface when it comes to the information police and prosecutors soon will start pulling from iPhones.

Also according to Zdziarski, the inbuilt iPhone keyboard cache continuously records a vast amount of the users phone activity. The iPhone logs EVERYTHING that you type in as it learns to autocorrect so that it can correct a user's typing mistakes.
But it seems that Apple doesn't store that cache very securely, and so according to Zdziarski, someone with expertise could recover months of typing in the order in which it was typed, even if the email or text it was part of has long since been deleted.

If the above wasn't scary enough, the iPhone can also, without the users knowledge, be surreptitiously recording and TRACKING THE USERS EVERY MOVE !
It seems that every time an iPhone user closes the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. iPhone photos are embedded with tags and identifying information, so photos posted online might include GPS co-ordinates of where the picture was taken and the serial number of the phone that took it.

And finally, even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user's browser history, which could prove useful to police during a criminal investigation.

WOW !! ... thankfully I don't own an iPhone and based on the above revelations, don't think I'll be in to much of a hurry to purchase one. But having said that, I guess that sooner or later, it's inevitable that virtually ALL phones will be end up like the iPhone ... continuing to further erode away at the users already rapidly dwindling online security



edit on 19/9/10 by tauristercus because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 01:31 AM
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I'm constantly surprised at the lies and activities Apple gets away with. They pretend like Microsoft is the big evil out to get everyone and people swallow it hook line and sinker. They compete with 'PC' (a non existent brand!) with huge amounts of advertising and claim that Microsoft spends more money on advertising than their products ... a bare faced lie. They take simple peripherals and make them unusable by basic modifications to force people to buy them from Apple. They do all kinds of things!

Yet still people cling to Apple as some saving arch angel of computers simply because an advert told them so. It's the only piece of hardware that has a religious following. Maybe Linux a *little* but still ...

This just makes it so much worse. I personally use a HTC android based phone with almost everything disabled. I don't like a device that has more information about me than me.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 03:52 AM
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I'm not an iPhone user myself but have to admit it's extremely worrying to me regarding the amount of personal info thats being recorded and stored by our phones about us, the users. Why exactly does this personal info need to be collected ? Why can't the phone do a complete wipe of all temporary files, etc automatically and on a regular or scheduled basis ? That way if the phone is lost, stolen or given away, at least we can be reasonably assured that unnecessary personal info has been automatically deleted.

Just a huge concern and worry the way things are developing with the technology we depend on daily



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 03:59 AM
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reply to post by tauristercus
 


Tauristercus.....

Thank you for this very interesting information.

It aligns quite well with some of my own reading & discussions about the iPhone security & privacy issues.

Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 04:17 AM
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Welcome to 1984 redux. With this new twist to the plot everyone actually goes and out purchases big brother's monitoring devices.


Nice find, Op. s&f



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 04:18 AM
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I was quite suprised by the "Screenshot" info it seems that there is some kind of reason for it though


That’s a serious security flaw, but for a very innocuous reason. It is done to create the shrinking and disappearing effect of the window of application every time the “Home” button is pressed.

link
It's still quite shocking though however innocuous the reason.

I guess that what is happening is that all phones, not just Iphones are now more or less like desktop computers and are now suffering from exactly the same problems with unintended data retention, files that people think are deleted are actually just "marked" as deleted on the hard drive and ignored by the OS the physical data is still on the drive though until it is overwritten by another piece of data and even then can sometimes be recovered.

Also info is stored without the user knowing in order to speed up certain operations that might be processor intensive or in order to achieve data persistence, i.e. when you open up a program it looks the same way as when you last closed it

There are definitely some privacy issues here, but no more or less then with the PC that I'm currently using



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 04:39 AM
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Originally posted by Maybe...maybe not
reply to post by tauristercus
 


Tauristercus.....

Thank you for this very interesting information.

It aligns quite well with some of my own reading & discussions about the iPhone security & privacy issues.

Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not


G'day Maybe...maybe not


I just remembered that you own an iPhone based on that ufo analysis you conducted a few months ago.
Yep, sure is scarey to realize the extent of monitoring that the iPhones seem to be capable of ... and thats more than enough to discourage me from considering purchasing one.

It may be to your advantage to do a bit of research and figure out how to do a "deep" clean of temp files, images, screenshots, etc on your phone ... whats the world coming to when we have to go to these sort of extreme measures to ensure our privacy



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 04:49 AM
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reply to post by tauristercus
 


Tauristercus.....

I think it's watching me right now!


Cheers
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 05:48 AM
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reply to post by Maybe...maybe not
 


Maybe...maybe not

Thats a brilliant avatar ... absolutely love it !


Just don't focus on the tip of Picard's nose otherwise you'll become mesmerized and will soon notice that you're starting to make the same circular movement with your own head !



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 07:22 AM
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Is it the same thing with the Blackberry Torch? I would imagine it would be.
I just bought one yesterday.

ETA: Damn... you guys are such a buzz kill!


edit on 19/9/2010 by Iamonlyhuman because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 07:41 AM
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Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman
Is it the same thing with the Blackberry Torch? I would imagine it would be.
I just bought one yesterday.


Yes, I would imagine that more and more phones, especially the newer and more sophisticated models, would probably be busily storing away way too much of the users activity and personal info, and without authorization.

Here's a quote from my OP:



... he was approached by law-enforcement agencies nationwide to teach them just how much information is stored in iPhones and other smartphones



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 07:52 AM
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And keep in mind that this would not only apply to the iPhone but the iPad and the iPod touch as well.


edit on 9/19/2010 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by abecedarian
And keep in mind that this would not only apply to the iPhone but the iPad and the iPod touch as well.


edit on 9/19/2010 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)



Absolutely right


I think we may just have to learn to live with the fact that the smarter our devices become, the more that they will tend to invade our private lives

But now we have to start worrying about how we eventually dispose of an unused mobile/cell phone or other "smart" device. This could leave personal information recorded by the device without our knowledge open to the prying eyes of the person receiving the disposed of device ... bank details/passwords that we typed on the phone, private and personal photos that we took, etc, etc



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 10:47 AM
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I assume this device would work on iphones as well as hard drives!



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 11:21 AM
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Every electronic item still has a ghost image on the hard drive. You need a magnet to remove the data or corrupt it enough that its un-readable. But even so you don't know how much is backed up on servers, your internet modem.

I am a PC user, and I have an Iphone and I know that I will never be rid of any data. They hook you, the world runs on computers and cell phones and companies know that. Its a drug and I'm an electronics junkie I know that I couldn't go a month without cell service.

I think blogs, social networking sites and smart phones are all the evils in the world. You can't control what is put on a server and where that info goes. Who's to say that companies aren't clearing it off on e server and moving it to another? Or posting it somewhere else? Can we ever know that its gone?

There was a case in my home town where a teen was murdered in a gang event, his CLOSED facebook account was used to convict him along with text messages sent before the crime that were not on the cell phone. This helps arrest criminals faster but, its the fear that this power could be abused. Power is always abused eventually.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 11:42 AM
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I will not be tied to an electronic leash, hence no little microwave sitting next to my nutz in my pocket and no tag line tied to my arse.
The times I actually use a cell phone are extremely rare and I simply buy a prepaid and use a dead registration.And like the dinosaur I am I only make calls.
For data I use an acer netbook running proxies and anonymizers for a small degree of privacy.
I remove the geotags from photos and as much source data as will still transmit.
All that said I still live as if on the truman show when out of my home, with the expectation of surveillance at some level.
Not paranoid, just private. Nothing really to hide just choose not to share. I grew up and lived most of my life without these devices and can easily live the balance without them.
I expect to have left a spotty and much less complete trail of data than many due to my choices.
N.



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 09:01 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Sep, 19 2010 @ 11:53 PM
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Where to start? That this is nothing new, yes it is deeply disturbing, no there's no immediate solution within our grasps(that I know of) to end the need for such devices as the sledgehammer, and next month I'll be taking my happy arse on over to Apple for my brand new iPhone. Why,? Because I've read nothing in this thread that can provide me with enough reason, logic, or information not to, or any other such new devises.

What, other than fear mongering society with the Big Brother has you by yet another means, and this could be used against you if you commit a crime, or someone could get you're vitals, is there?

If someone commits a crime, why shouldn't ALL possible evidence be used against them? Isn't the point of a jury or judge to conceive a verdict based on the best possible provided evidence?

This is the same issue we've been having since paper was invented. If you're not smart enough to dispose of you're vitals properly then you deserve anything that comes to you. And you can't tell me the GP isn't smart enough to know this. We've been destroying our vital information forever in any form and never can i see the need for something as outrageous as the Sledgehammer. Why do I get the feeling that this, while being a very serious issue, is fear mongering perpetuating in our society?



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:08 AM
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reply to post by BornTooSoon
 


Sure, you've made valid points but I suppose more to the point, at least from my point of view, is why it's becoming an increasing trend amongst many items of technology to store all manner of private information on the user ? Whether this information can be accessed and used in various ways e.g. police is worrying but not really the main point ... rather, the point is why this quantity of info even needs to be stored/retained in the 1st place.



posted on Sep, 20 2010 @ 12:25 AM
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Eventually someone may come out with a competing product that deletes user histories permanently except for apps, notes, etc. when companies know that they can make money by getting rid of history and making people feel more secure.

For some though, it would be better not to take a camera to document your crime. Some people don't have a brain and take pictures of everything they do.




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