You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Is your iPhone an iSpy?


How well do you know your cellphone?

For many of us, it knows where we are every minute of the day, and it's storing that list right there on your phone where anyone can find it.

It's pretty common knowledge that our smartphones can tag pictures and videos with where we are, and certain apps tell us they're using our location.

This is different.

With a new operating system update that was released last fall, iPhones now keep an actual log of places you've been, down to the address and the minute.

"I don't think I've ever been under this setting before," said smartphone user Jeremy Katz. "I didn't know it was doing that level of detail." 

You have to know where to look:

               Step 1: Click on your 'Settings' app

               Step 2: Select 'Privacy'

               Step 3: Select 'Location Services'

               Step 4: Scroll all the way to the bottom to 'System Services'

               Step 5: Select 'Frequent Locations'

               Step 6: Click on each of the cities, and each location to see the specific addresses you've visited and the time of day you were there.

WSB-TV GALLERY: Step-by-step look at how to turn off Frequent Locations service

We showed iPhone user Moniqua Griffin how to find her list.

She said, "For you to just be able to look it up like that, that ain't good."

It can be good for your boss, for example, if you have a work phone and he wants to know if you were really sick when you called out one day.

"I think that's a complete invasion of privacy," said Katz, who admitted he could also see some benefit to the technology.

"That's good for checking up on your girlfriend too!" he joked. His girlfriend who was standing right next to him replied, "No, that's horrible!"

If someone thought a spouse was cheating, the truth could be right there in their phone.

"Wow, that is awesome," exclaimed Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson when she saw the technology for the first time.

"It's scary from a Big Brother point of view, but it's awesome for law enforcement purposes," she added.

Lawson says prosecutors have used cell tower data for years. But now, if a suspect swears he wasn't at the house that got robbed, his phone could say he was and at the exact time of the crime.

"It's by far better, otherwise they're pinging a general location. This gives the exact address, this is awesome for us," Lawson said.

"If they go through the proper warrant procedures it's perfectly appropriate for them to get this information," sad Atlanta attorney Gerry Weber, who specializes in constitutional law.

Weber admits he finds the new technology a little scary.

"Anybody could grab your cellphone and see where you've been over the last several months, date and time and place. I don't think anybody would imagine that," said Weber.

He worries the accessibility of the information might be too tempting for officers to wait for a search warrant.

"The officer might grab the phone, look and see where you've been, and use that information, and not ever tell anybody that they got it from your phone," said Weber.

He wonders if Apple might eventually do the same, and share or sell locations for marketing.

According to Apple's website, “Your iPhone will keep track of places you have recently been, as well as how often and when you visited them, in order to learn places that are significant to you. This data is kept solely on your device and won't be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.”

You automatically consent when you allow Apple to “use your frequent locations” to improve your maps feature.

Apple refused to disclose how often your phone records your location, and whether it's triggered by a specific act like a call or a text.

"There's so much information out there. It's so rich. It's so revealing. They all want their hands on it," said Hanni Fakhoury with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco based non-profit that defends privacy rights.

Fakhoury questions why Apple automatically activates the frequent locations feature when users agree to basic location services.

"When you are opted into the system automatically without any choice that's where there are some real problems," said Fakhoury.

Most of the smartphone users Channel 2 shared the feature with immediately asked how to disable it. 



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Boy, 9, raises nearly $30K at lemonade stand for grandfather with cancer
Boy, 9, raises nearly $30K at lemonade stand for grandfather with cancer

When Angel Sanchez’ grandfather was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in December, the boy decided he would try to raise $100 to help.  With help from his mother, Sanchez, 9, built a yellow lemonade stand.  Through support from the community, he has been able to raise $6,700 through a GoFundMe and another $21,766 while the...
OPINION: Why defang the State Department?

What in the world is going on at Donald Trump’s State Department? And where in the world is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? The answer to that second question, at least as of last week, was Asia, where according to foreign journalists he truncated his meetings with South Korean officials after he reportedly felt fatigued. But wait. Tillerson...
Looking at ‘deaths of despair’

Here’s an interesting health story — the Associated Press reported last week that “Middle-age white Americans with limited education are increasingly dying younger, on average, than other middle-age U.S. adults, a trend driven by their dwindling economic opportunities, research by two Princeton University economists has found. OPINION...
Student of the Week Triad High School
Student of the Week Triad High School

Name: Morgan Hunter School: Triad High School Grade: 11 Age: 17 Extra-curricular: Drama/play Claim to fame/honors: The Mad Hatter and Lord Farquand in THS drama club presentations Words you live by: “I have completed the course.” Toughest challenge: Overcoming stage fright Biggest influence: My father, Daniel Hunter School-day rituals:...
Athlete of the Week Triad High School
Athlete of the Week Triad High School

Name: Cassey Poe School: Triad High School Grade: 11 Age: 17 Sports: Cheerleading Claim to fame/honors: Winning the OHC title alongside my team, being the OHC jump-off champion three years in a row and winning the All American cheerleader title all five years of my cheerleading career Words you live by: “Surround yourself with the dreamers, the...
More Stories