You Can Follow Me but Don't Track ME

You can "Follow Me" many ways these days.. If I feel like it, I will share my location with you.. This is really cool for friends, family and coworkers. Location awareness gives context to my photos and makes personal technology generally more useful. Many apps use location. For example when I'm looking for a restaurant and need advice I launch Yelp and bring up a map and i can see all the good "eats" near by. How cool!!!!!

So here is what is Not Cool; Apple has been keeping location data on my phone about every location I have been or traveled for the past years. Thousands of data points. This file is saved unencrypted on my computer every time I perform an iTunes backup. That means if my computer is legally taken, I give up my location for the last several years.  If you think this is something only the NSA or FBI can crack you're wrong. Any basic computer forensics company can figure this out with relative ease.

"The more fundamental problem is that Apple is collecting this information at all. Cell-phone providers collect similar data almost inevitably as part of their operations, but it’s kept behind their firewall. It normally requires a court order to gain access to it, whereas this is available to anyone who can get their hands on your phone or computer. By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple has made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator, or the authorities to get a detailed picture of your movements."

I give Apple a lot of slack normally just because they have truly changed my life when it comes to personal technology. I have several apple products in my family and we love them. This is the first time I have taken a pause to truly think about my personal privacy as it relates to Apple.

I ran this program from Pete Warden that analyzed the file and this is what I saw.


  • Most dense “Dark Blue” areas show that I spend most of my time at work or commuting from NJ to Connecticut.
  • I can see all the visits I made to friends and family right down to the street level when zoomed in.
  • When I zoomed out, to see the globe, I saw all my vacation spots for the last 2 years, Vegas, Bahamas, etc…
  • I’ve recently started hiking on the weekends in the mountains by my home and can see my trails. 

FOLLOW ME at the LiNKS below ...but DON'T TRACK ME

"This is kind of super creepy that this data exists at this level of detail. If you have an opinion on this, give me your thoughts in the comments."