iPhone file tracks users

(CBS)- It's getting harder and harder to stay under the radar these days, especially if you've got an iPhone.

There's a little known secret file that tracks your every move, and as Mark Sayre shows us, you can't delete it.

Pete Warden/researcher says, "and this is me starting off in Denver.."

When Pete Warden moved from Denver to San Francisco last year … he knew his i-Phone could track his movements and let him know where he was during his drive.

what he did not know…his IPhone was also logging that information and storing it.

Pete Warden/researcher, "and then i spent a few days driving through and you can see i stopped over in Utah."

((nats from podium))

Warden -- and fellow researcher Alasdair Allan --unveiled their findings at the "where 2-point-0" technology conference in Santa Clara.

The researchers say any Apple device that runs I-OS-4 -- the latest mobile operating system for both i-Phones and i-Pads - keeps these location data logs.

Alasdair Allan/researcher, "the newsworthy thing here is that this data is being collected and kept in one place and it just building up over time on an un-encrypted file on your device."

At this point…the researchers say they have seen no evidence that the location history data is being electronically sent from the phone.

But if the phone is stolen… or someone snoops through it… the pair is very concerned about privacy implications for users.

Peter Warden/researcher,"this is a potentially damaging amount of information for some people. You know if you have a jealous spouse, or if the file gets into the hands of someone who is investigating you, this tells them an awful lot about your life."

Allan was sitting in a hotel room just last weekend when he extracted the data from his i-Phone…showing a trip he took from washington to new york last summer.

Alasdair Allan/researcher, "and as you can see that's where the Amtrak line is."

Dut despite this surprising revelation…. C-Net editor Brian Cooley says users of i-Phones and i-Pads don't need to panic.

Brian Cooley/CNET; "I'd be concerned, I wouldn't be worried,. The fact that this information is on your i-Phone and your i-Pad and on your computer when you sync them, at least its it's still yours. The fear is when and if those devices get hacked or if this information is suddenly used by apple in ways you don't like, that's when it gets a little more nerve-wracking. Right now though i think concern is the word.

No comment from Apple.

iOS4 released in June of last year so only new iPhone/iPad users (or those who have upgraded to iOS4) need to worry about this issue. If you have an older iPhone/IPad you can rest easy.

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