The iPhone (and cousins) storing of location information and similar activity by Android is turning out to be a pretty big scandal. Some people are saying, “I’ve got nothing to hide.” but most people I associate with don’t think that way. And since that guy writes for the NYT he doesn’t really count with most of the country anyway.
Having a data file with over a year’s worth of your location information stored on your iPhone is a security risk.
So if a thief got his hands on your iPhone, he can figure out where you live and loot you there, too. Same goes for a hacker who gains remote access to the consolidated.db file. But if a thief or hacker dug into an Android device, there isn’t going to be much geodata saved on the smartphone to digitally stalk you. (There’s plenty of other data on smartphones such as text messages, address books and so forth, but at least we have control over what data we store in this regard.)
Bottom line, this data shouldn’t stick around on your iOS device, because it does nothing but put you at risk. And you should care about that, because this problem can be and should be fixed by Apple, and you should demand that.
I’m not at liberty to say much but I will say that I spent some time explaining the security of Windows Phone 7 location services to our Program Manager and Dev Manager this afternoon. Both seems satisfied with the status. It’s not as good as I would like it to be when I put on my utopian privacy hat but I think the tradeoffs made were within acceptable bounds. I’m also pleased that at every stage through the location service development process privacy was taken seriously by everyone I worked with. I had expected I would have to fight hard at times to protect location information but that was not the case. I only got pushback on some relatively minor issues, for legitimate needs, and the compromises made were acceptable to me.
WP7 location service does a much better job of protecting your privacy and giving you control over your data than the iPhone currently does and probably better than Android. And as long as I am working on location services I will do my best to make sure it stays that way.