Apple's iPhone is a gold mine for the government

News Stacy Warden 15:00, Feb 26 2013

Here's all the information your iPhone holds about you, and what it means for the government

So, this may not come as much of a shock to you, but here it is: The government can see every little thing you've done and everywhere you've been with your iPhone. We're not just talking about text messages and photos, but every single connection point your iPhone has ever used. The revelation comes from court documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which prove just how private your private life isn't.

From the ACLU's blog:

"The type of data stored on a smartphone can paint a near-complete picture of even the most private details of someone’s personal life. Call history, voicemails, text messages and photographs can provide a catalogue of how—and with whom—a person spends his or her time, exposing everything from intimate photographs to 2 AM text messages. Web browsing history may include Google searches for Alcoholics Anonymous or local gay bars. Apps can expose what you’re reading and listening to. Location information might uncover a visit to an abortion clinic, a political protest, or a psychiatrist."

And indeed the organization's extraction report proves exactly how detailed it gets. In it, you can see massive amounts of data pulled from an iPhone. The information was accessed by the Department of Homeland Security during a raid, and it's pretty detailed stuff. Along with the usual suspects like a complete call log, text message history and a contacts list, the government can also use your iPhone to see exactly where you've been (by the way, folks, this includes deleted items too). In its report, the ACLU notes 659 geolocation points including 227 cell towers and WiFi networks were pulled from just one iPhone. 

Of course, it's not like the government can just jack your iPhone and rifle through it without a reason and a warrant. And it's not like this is earth-shattering insight. We've known for quite some time now that we forfeited a certain amount of privacy by embracing our mobile devices so completely. Nonetheless, it's gravely unsettling to think of how this kind of information could be used in the wrong hands -- information that, quite frankly, is no one's business but our own. 


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