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iPhone 4 Tracking Brouhaha

Yesterday, a pair of security researchers (Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden) announced the discovery that the iPhone 4 and iPad 3G are regularly recording the position of the device to a hidden consolidated.db cache file.  Their "discovery" spawned a whirlwind of controversy, including this morning's news of a letter sent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs by Senator Al Franken (D-MN).

Today, network security and forensics expert Alex Levinson stepped forward to explain that the hidden consolidated.db cache file is neither new nor secret.  In fact, the existence of the file was mentioned in iOS Forensic Analysis: for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, a book to which Levinson was a contributor.  The book was released on December 5, 2010.

For me, it's much ado about nothing.  Anyone carrying any sort of mobile phone can be tracked by their mobile provider.  I guess if I was engaged in criminal activity or I was cheating on my spouse, I might have more reason to be concerned.  But the moment I started carrying a mobile device that relies on cellular towers or WiFi hotspots, and features a GPS chip to determine its position, it was pretty easy to figure out that my movements could be tracked.

By the way, Android OS device owners should take note that their devices are tracking position into a similar cache file.  Though, it appears the Android OS does not keep a very long record.


Laziness is an acceptable excuse, right?

Well, here I am writing my very first blog post.  I don't know what took me so long.  It's not like I haven't had the time.  And it's not like I haven't received positive encouragement from friends.  "You're the most opinionated guy I know, you should start a blog!"  Hmm… not sure if that was a compliment or not.

Sheer laziness, I guess.  Let's face it, creating a blog is a bit of work.  I created this site using, which includes easy-to-use templates and WYSIWYG editing.  But there's still a learning curve involved.  Hopefully, it will be easier from here on.

One thing is for certain, I do have opinions and I do like to share them.  At least now I'll have a (potentially) larger audience to share them with.  I'll probably piss off one or two people in the process.  On the other hand, maybe a post here or there might actually be helpful or entertaining to someone.  We'll see.

Some thank yous are in order.  To Rob-ART, Bet-TAY, and VBob, for their ongoing encouragement to start a blog.  To Rick, for (almost) always answering his phone when he knows I'm calling with technical questions.  And to my lovely wife Cathy, for her love and patience, which makes life all the more wonderful.  Thank you, all!