Listen up peeps, if the folks at Mac World have it right.... "you may not know where you're going in life, but you always know where you've been, and so does your iPhone".
According to a story in The Guardian on Wednesday, the iPhone (and the 3G-enabled iPad) keeps a running log of its location and copies that information to your home computer whenever you connect to it. As such, the information complete with latitude, longitude, and timestamps can be easily reconstructed to show a person's movements.
While The Guardian story might seem like big news it's not even if MacWorld says that its a blow to Apple who touted improvements to location privacy when it rolled out iOS 4 last year.
But just so you know...
If you have ever pressed the Google Mags icon on your iPhone or BlackBerry and then clicked the traffic overlay to be completely blown away, by how up to the second and mile marker the bottle neck crawling along at a snails pace the graphic is, you shouldn't be surprised.
So how does Google Maps know how bad the traffic is? Shared data is the answer. Massive computers are tracking not just your "blue dot" on the Google map, but every body's blue dot. When the blue dots bunch up in a area that normally is go go green, the area changes to red, yellow if its just slowing slightly.
While not as detailed as the application in the Guardian story, the concept is the same. In other words that iPhone knows everything, soon you'll buy your Starbucks with your iPhone and big brother will have the ability to cut you off, before you head out into traffic.
We wouldn't want any over caffeinated drivers out there on I-77 ot I-26 would we?
Yes it's all for the greater good.
April 22, 2011 Update:
WFAE is reporting on a Wall Street Journal report that Google tracks data as well. Hummmm I told you so. The WSJ report is here and WFAE is here.