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Your iPhone is secretly tracking you all the time

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posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 02:41 PM

Originally posted by teito
reply to post by centurion1211

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops
ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

"Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide," ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. "No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure."

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

"Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

"With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity," Fancher wrote. "A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched."

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.

Nice find and posting.

Also, keep in mind that to get ALL of your information from your device, forensically, there has to be a physical device hooked into the machine in question.

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:24 PM
Unless they consider all the games of Scrabble I play with my parents and my brother a threat to national security I say who cares?

I especially like having an internet connection on my linux flavored laptop anywhere there's a 3G signal.

I have never been contacted, probed, hassled, targeted, interrupted, chased, bothered, or searched. Seriously, where's the justification to be so paranoid about it?

You're using a device that has to be communicating with a cell tower in order to work at all. The fact that they know where the phone is, well, that's a no brain-er.

Besides, if they know where I am, and have a problem with me, it just makes it that much easier for them to come kiss my feet.

edit on 20-4-2011 by lernmore because: self censorship

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 03:38 PM
I don't need, nor do I really want a cellphone. When I do have one active, it's for a specific reason, and it's prepaid under a fake name. I only give the number to the people that need to know it, for whatever specific reason I needed to activate it. It is rare that I activate it, last time I did was when I was putting some miles on my motorcycle on a east to west and back to east coast ride.
edit on Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:38:56 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 04:30 PM
I think what is being missed here is that Cell phone tracking and even having a log of the devices whereabouts can be a very good thing! (Before you flame me read the rest)

You could find missing children, kidnappers, violent criminals, or help people who are lost. And at present it really isn't bad for you at all unless you're breaking the law which most would argue you shouldn't be doing anyway.

The problem I have is in the future. With the way things are going soon everything will be against the law except watching TV and going to work. They will be able to tell if you're speeding and send you a speeding ticket. This isn't a problem NOW it is a problem in 10 to 20 years.

Look at historical issues: Who would have thought that carrying a licence to drive a car which you need to have registered would fit into American ideals? It doesn't! But because some people let a minimal fee slide many years ago it turned into a fascist people tracking and registering device.

It is a slow process:
First it is grudgingly accepted that it is possible.
Then accepted it is ok in certain circumstances.
Then the circumstances gradually expand
Finally it is so ingrained it is ok to send someone a speeding ticked based on GPS data from a mobile device.

It isn't being alarmist it is a proven precedent!

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 08:14 PM
Some distinctions should be made here with respect to the OP.

Database is only applicable on smartphones not traditional cell phones without OS'es to support either SQLite or some other form of DBMS on it.

Secondly, the answer is simple, if you want to keep the smartphone, and dont want to pull the battery do one of 2 things.

You have an iPhone, get a MAC, get XTools, brush up on your Cocoa, jailbreak the device, and inject whatever data you want into the database.

Have an Android, get the Android SDK, Eclipse, root it, Custom Kernel and ROM, re-write the OS anyway you like, no more problem.

Then turn it on or off at will and only worry about the handoff from tower to tower if you're really that paranoid, otherwise, I think we'll be ok.

To answer whether or not I still think I am "free"? Absolutely.... so long as there are still trash cans, the moment I no longer feel "free" due to my cell phone, a small toss is where it will go.

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 08:25 PM

Originally posted by Dreine
I can assure you, it's not only iPhones... ALL cellular phones record your location periodically for billing purposes, even if you turn said phone off.

The ONLY way to keep your phone from giving it's location to the nearest tower is to remove the power source and SIM card, and only reinstall them when making a call.

Trust me on this.

There's a vast difference between some random sod needing a subpoena to get your billing records from your phone company and for the information being downloaded in a hidden file to your laptop to be inspected when your computer is "randomly" siezed at customs and immigration.

This story is a BIG deal, and Apple know it. If they don't fix this YESTERDAY, they are fried.

P.S: this is breaking right across the tech world. There's already an article on Ars Technica about it. It explains precisely why this matters so much:
edit on 20-4-2011 by XtraTL because: Add link to Ars Technica article

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 09:17 PM
reply to post by centurion1211

They can be sort of envied, I suppose, for their much simpler lives - right up until they get "harvested".

How does that work then? and why are certain people going to be "harvested"?.....or have I just walked straight into a sci-fi novel?

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 09:25 PM
Well I have a Samsung Galaxy S phone.....and it's great!

If "they" want to track me for whatever reason, then ......fine!.......I'm not doing anything illegal, why and how they can track every single person on this planet that has a smart phone, god only knows!

I suppose if I was up to anything "shady" I could always leave my phone at home.....but then if I was a real threat, then they could always just follow me where ever I went.

I don't think I'll lose any sleep over this.

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 10:10 PM

Originally posted by Dreine
I can assure you, it's not only iPhones... ALL cellular phones record your location periodically for billing purposes, even if you turn said phone off.

The ONLY way to keep your phone from giving it's location to the nearest tower is to remove the power source and SIM card, and only reinstall them when making a call.

Trust me on this.

Sorry i won't. Many phones are tracking, thats true. Symbian&android are open source and short of never-before-seen hardware-level vulnerability, they are clean. This could be called natural selection; there are choices, so being vulnerable with an I-poduct is a decision. My rooted DHD won't do anything without my approval, and is silently monitoring any suspicious activity trying to start in the background, catching and halting it without the operating system ever knowing.

It runs on an AES encrypted filesystem, sandboxed inside kvm. Yes, it's totally overkill, and yes, there still is one method to compromise the phone if physical access+the tools+the time is available, and a custom keylogging bootloader is crafted and planted without me suspecting this has happened.

But i am pretty sure it is a piece of cake feat to hack into Barack Obamas blackberry compared to my phone.
edit on 20-4-2011 by dbove because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 10:11 PM
reply to post by Argyll

That's funny - it's not about you "doing something illegal"...

That's where the blinders end for most people nowadays
"Well I don't mind because it's not like I have anything to hide"

No - the point is what if one day its because your a certain religion or a certain race or you say the wrong thing to the wrong person or they want your property or your getting in the way of someone...

There's a million OTHER reasons that "THEY" might want to eventually track and record your every action - even if you are the quintessential "law abiding citizen"

I'm sure most of the Jews thought the same thing initially when they were hauling away their neighbors..."Oh well at least it wasn't me - I guess they must have done something wrong"

posted on Apr, 20 2011 @ 11:29 PM
Good thing I don't own a piece of crap iPhone

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 12:13 AM
I would hardly call it secret.
It has built in GPS
It always asks permission to allow to use your location and its in the settings, you can turn off location services.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 12:14 AM
Odd, you used to be able to turn off the GPS setting on cell phones. Or so the articles states that you cannot now.

That setting is good to a point, esp., if traveling alone, if you do have an accident and you are only able to reach 911 but not say much or barely know what mile marker you're near(embankments can be steep and covering), you can be found easier. As well as I'd suspect with some missing people who have Alzheimer's and other diseases/conditions and sometimes children-getting lost in a crowd.

Other than tracking for search reasons-mentioned above-, maybe it's for advertising. Similar to when you go to a certain website the ads on the site say for your area, or bring up similar products to what you have searched for recently. Web2.0, Safari, based phones have ISPs, but maybe that's not enough tracking for the advertisers-as to say it's more limiting than GPS(while visiting NYC-but live in NV- and your next Iphone net search brings up"BigApple shopping deals!")? Or to track everyone in case one turns out to be a criminal. So and so was suspected of stealing, use their phone to find their location.
edit on 21-4-2011 by dreamingawake because: another line

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 01:05 AM
This has nothing to do with GPS.. its a seperate program that runs no matter what you disable in the menu.

And this is certainly drawing attention...

Separately, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) fired off a letter to Apple late Wednesday to question why the Cupertino, Calif.-based company included the feature in its software in the first place.
“The existence of this information — stored in an unencrypted format — raises serious privacy concerns,” said Franken, who leads the Senate Judiciary Committee’s new privacy panel, in a letter to CEO Steve Jobs. He later emphasized the information — which could be “accurate to 50 meters or less” — also applies to iPhones and iPads owned by children, and could easily be exploited by “criminals and bad actors.”
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, later blasted Apple in a statement — and signaled he would not only press the company for answers, but would continue work on “comprehensive online privacy legislation” that could further address the issue.
“I’m deeply disturbed by this report,” Inslee said, noting that “current law fails to ensure consumers are protected from privacy violations,” and often don’t know when their information has been breached.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 02:24 AM
reply to post by centurion1211

No I don't have one.

May I have yours so that I can be tracked please? Otherwise I may go missing.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 02:41 AM
You just have to be online and they track you.....especially people like us that they feel they need to keep an eye on. Be careful what you say because they can and will use it against you in the court of law.......I don't say that to scare anybody just to be cautious because I know how easy it would be to snap on some of the sensitive subjects that come through here. Course this is just my opinion.

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 03:42 AM
reply to post by centurion1211

My god. Actually research the topic.

The information it collects is engineering data based on the antenna's the phone has accessed to manage network load and planning.

The sensationalist media are completely fooling the masses on this one.

Some of you will just jump the gun at the slightest thing.

edit on 21-4-2011 by Crutchley29 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 08:39 AM
I think what I am most shocked about, is how shocked people are by it.

In the Apple world as well as the Android world, the Terms you agree to specifically state that they may do this.

But then again, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by that, as, I guess the housing bubble would not have occurred if people were actually reading the fine print eh?

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 08:55 AM
Great thread Centurion.
I only recently learned of this and was going to thread it but found yours on the new and improved ATS search. On related news:

U.S. Stock Futures Advance as Apple, Morgan Stanley Profit Buoys Optimism


I heard on CNBC financial news that profits would have been higher for Apple but they could not meet staggering demand for new iPhone and iPad products.

Also somewhat related. Here in Florida the state highway system has a toll system called SUNPASS which requires a transponder/transmitter placed in vehicle dash area / windsheild. Recently my battery died and I received a letter by mail showing my recent trip route and fees and note to replace battery. (The system captures license tag image data as you drive by at 70 mph.) It normally just charges pre arranged Credit Card.

Recently they've eliminated the toll booths and commuters who don't subscribe to system but travel the toll roads are sent a bill in the mail. (Tag info via DMV)

Yeah it is Big Brother as per the frog boiling water analogy. Thanks for bring this to attention to members.

edit on 21-4-2011 by kinda kurious because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 21 2011 @ 09:03 AM
Year 2000.....

10 years later:

Still have no handy, still have no brain damage, still free and untrackable.

"Smart as ass smart can be", and you billions of people were so naive to believe they need RFID's to know everything about you, your live, - EVERYTHING.

"...for they do not know what they are doing"

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