Probably much to Apple’s dismay, this story just won’t die. First, someone figured out that iPhones store where they’ve been. Then, someone else figured out that Android phones do the same. Then others figured out that both phones send their data to Apple and Google, respectively. Now, CNET has a story saying all of that has been an open secret among computer forensics specialists for some time and that various law enforcement organizations, from local police to federal agencies, have been making use of that data for quite some time.
Legally, there is still no consensus on whether this practice is allowed without a warrant. At the border however, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (the nation’s most liberal) has approved the copying of all data on any electronic device by law enforcement, even if there’s no reason for it. And the CNET article lists at least three companies that are happy to provide any agency with software that will easily mine that location data off your phone, and into the Gestapo’s hands.
Realistically though, smartphones are like crack. News could come out tomorrow saying they’re making everyone sterile, and it wouldn’t hurt their sales a bit. I mean, what are the chances you’ll even want kids anyway? Or get arrested? Really low. But the chances that you’ll be on Facebook in five minutes while listening to Pandora and gearing up for Angry Birds are like super high.