Clueless duo sues Apple over consolidated.db “tracking” file

Tue, Apr 26, 2011


Lord, the horrors of living in a litigious society.

Okay, things could be a lot worse, but this reflexive reaction from folks to take to the courts without enough information tends to get quite tiresome. In a move that should surprise nobody, two folks filed a lawsuit against Apple this week alleging that the company is secretly tracking user movements via the Consolidated.db file that garnered so much public attention last week.

First relayed by Bloomberg, the lawsuit naturally relies on the report filed by xxx and made public last week. For the nth time, the consolidated.db file isn’t new information as it’s been used quite a bit during forensic investigations by various law enforcement agencies.

In any event, Attorney Aaron Mayer told Bloomberg via telephone yesterday, “We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go. If you are a federal marshal, you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one.”

Earlier yesterday, Steve Jobs responded to a user email on the issue exclaiming that Apple isn’t tracking anybody.

In any event, other folks are taking up interest in this latest piece of location-based trivia. Al Franken last week penned a letter to Steve Jobs asking him to answer 9 pointed questions about the issue. Meanwhile, The always inefficient Lisa Madigan, who currently serves as the Illinois Attorney General, has also asked for meetings with Apple and Google Executives to go over the issue. This, of course, is in addition to regulators from France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea who are also looking into the issue.

Apple has yet to issue an official comment on the issue, but it should be noted that Android also keeps user location data on a file on its handsets, though to be fair, that information does not stretch back for months on end as the consolidated.db file does on iOS 4.

As for the lawsuit, the plaintiffs want damages and claim that they would have never purchased their iPhones had the known about the alleged tracking mechanism.

Besides, some noted tech analysts have explained that Apple isn’t even tracking user location data, but rather information about the locations of cell towers and wi-fi access points.



1 Comments For This Post

  1. Howie Isaacks Says:

    There are three problems that we can point out from all of this:

    1. Most people are ignorant about technology.
    2. This lawsuit, and the others that will follow are motivated by greed, not from alleged harm caused by the iPhone.
    3. A lot of people insist that their problems are always caused by someone else. There’s no way that we could be responsible for our own lives.

    I’m actually surprised that members of Congress are so interested in this non-issue since it’s not an election year. Normally, we don’t see this kind of grandstanding until there is an election in full swing. Apple’s best defense against this B.S. is to make these people all look like morons, instead of trying to defend the iPhone’s data gathering. We cannot expect 100% privacy when moving around in public. If we’re going to go after Apple for the iPhone tracking our location, then we should also go after gas stations, banks, and supermarkets for employing security cameras. Those cameras can help law enforcement prove a case against us just as easily as location data can. Law enforcement agencies have had the techology to extract data from our phones for a long time. In the end, the GPS and cell tower triangulation are not completely accurate, so there’s always a reasonable doubt. If you’re so conerned about this data being stored on your computer, then delete the iPhone backups or use the option to encrypt them. If the people suing Apple were REALLY only concerned about privacy, then they would simply wipe their iOS devices, and return them to Apple. I think they have a very heavy burden of proof as to what damage this activity has caused, but you never know how an activist judge will think until he or she pronounces judgement. In the end, your data is your responsibility. If you’re too lazy to learn how to safeguard it, any damage caused by its exposure is your fault.

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