The Government Can Use Your iPhone to Figure Out Where You've Been

Court documents obtained by the ACLU reveal just how vulnerable information about your private life is to prying government eyes that get a hold of your phone. It's more than just your text messages, folks. It's every connection point your phone has used.

The "extraction report" (PDF) details the huge amounts of data the Department of Homeland Security was able to pull off an iPhone seized during a raid. The report contains information you'd expect like a complete call log, text message history, and contacts list—including deleted items. But more than just information about who you've talked to, the DHS can use your iPhone to assemble a shockingly invasive record of places you've been. The ACLU notes that the record contains 659 geolocation points, including 227 cell towers and 403 Wi-Fi networks were extracted from the phone in question.


Now, the ACLU is all up in a huff about this type of data collection because it constitutes way more private information than authorities have been able to collect ever before. In particular, the ACLU notes: "The police should not be free to copy the contents of your phone without a warrant absent extraordinary circumstances."

While you can argue that some of this data is certainly germane to investigations, simply obtaining a phone doesn't grant the government infinite access to everything you've ever done. Or it shouldn't anyway. [ACLU]

Image by Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock


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