Friday, 29 April 2011

My iPhone is Stalking Me!

Some of you may have heard of the iPhone tracking system.  It's not cool because users don't know about it. It's a stalker phone.

Curious, I looked at the files from my iPhone and this is what I found:

This looks pretty accurate, location-wise.  Halifax, Calgary, and...

Everything in the Quebec City - Windsor corridor, my main traipsing ground.  

Okay, but how accurate is this? Let's have a closer look at where I'm at least 75% of my time: Ottawa.

Um, closer than that...

Looks pretty accurate from here except, well, I get around.  Closer still.

I placed a timeframe here to remove some dots, so you can just see a few of them on the map.  But I'm sure I was there on those dates, in iPhone mode, so kudos!

What about other places?  Calgary?

Accurate as far as I can tell.  Well, I could hone in on my friends' house, so definitely accurate.


Woa. Breakdown. Not accurate.  Not far, but not accurate.  

So why are Calgary and Ottawa accurate and not Halifax?  All I could think of what to look at cell phone tower placements (not actually read what other have said.  Oh no. This is much more fun!)  First I got this: 

That's all of Canada.  Not useful. I brought up only my provider's towers.

Focus on Calgary next:

 Okay, lots of 'em.  So what about Halifax?

 Way fewer.

So it triangulates your position.  The fewer towers around, the less accurate the reading.  Basic enough.  But what does it all mean?

Well, my iPhone is stalking me.  But it's only doing so when I receive a signal, which is evidenced by the fact that I get bleeps while on major roads.  I don't pick up while driving.  And, of course, absolutely not bleeps when it's in airplane mode. I certainly didn't walk to Calgary or Halifax. 

I'm disappointed in Apple for doing this, and they've yet to express their reasoning behind it. I don't expect a good reason, of course. Apple is getting bigger, and power corrupts all things, etc., etc.  (Pick up a comic book if you're not familiar with that concept. They'll explain it to you within three issues, guaranteed.)

Will I get rid of my iPhone? Nah. I'm a fatalist, not an alarmist.  I'll patch it when hackers figure out how to, or when Apple smartens up and provides an update.  In the meantime, the files are trapped on my cell phone and, quite frankly, if ever I were to commit a crime, I would simply leave it at home and make sure I get beeped then to use it in my defence.  

It's a two-way road, my friends.  Make the stalker work for you.

Disclaimer: I'm not actually planning on committing a crime, aside from sometimes (gasp!) poor fashion choices.  Ah, who am I kidding.  I wouldn't allow that to happen.