Everybody seems to dig the new iPhone… even law enforcement… but not for their personal use. Apparently the new phones capture and retain so much data, and retain it for up to a full year, that law enforcement has begun learning how to capture the personal user data off of an iPhone for use in criminal prosecutions. Sounds like a huge invasion of privacy doesn’t it? For many people their phone or PDA is their life: a daily planner, scheduler, direction giver, personal database and source of entertainment. All of your personal data in one place, and apparently now easily accesible to police investigators.
A July 7, 2010 Detroit Free Press article highlighted these less than obvious data caches recorded by the iPhone:
• Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants could use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime.
• iPhone photos are embedded with GEO tags and identifying information, meaning that photos posted online might not only include GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken, but also the serial number of the phone that took it.
• Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user’s browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said that some of it could prove useful to police.
• The keyboard cache function logs everything that you type in order to learn autocorrect so that it can correct a user’s typing mistakes.
The courts have historically treated cell phones like any other easily accesible container that police can search at the time of a traffic stop in much the same way they can check things left out in the backseat or the glovebox, In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that searches of cell phone data without a warrant was going to far, and a breach of an expectation of privacy. That case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. So, for now at least, keep in mind that all of your data may be used by police in any investigation, and with an iPhone, the sources and types of data available can be far more comprehensive and extensive than what you might think.
Read the full article here