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Hidden iPhone File Tracks Users' Every Move

The security of Apple's iPhones and iPads is being called into question after it emerged the devices contain a hidden file that tracks the owner's locations.

Apple iPhone 4
It is not known if the function on iPhones and iPads can be disabled
The finding was reported by two British computer programmers at a technology conference in San Francisco.
The pair found Apple has been logging the whereabouts of 3G phone and iPad users since it updated its mobile operating system a year ago.
The location data is taken from mobile phone masts and Wi-Fi networks and recorded on the device along with the time and date.
However, one of the concerns is that when a person syncs their phone or iPad with a computer the information is transferred to the hard drive permanently.
Anyone with access to this computer, including a hacker, could then trace the user's movements.
And if the phone or iPad was lost or stolen a stranger would also be able to view the data with the right software.
Map of south west England
Map showing a user's movements in south west England
Although other mobile phone companies collect information in similar ways, it is usually kept behind a firewall.
It then normally requires a court order to gain access to it - but this is not the case with this data.

Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, the researchers behind the discovery, have now set up a webpage to inform the public about the file.
On the page it states: "By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements."
Mr Warden, who worked for Apple for five years, has created afree downloadable programme that allows them to see the location data on a map.
It is not known why Apple is collecting the data or whether the function can be disabled.