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Tuesday, May 26

Is Your iPhone App Seeing Someone Else?

While researching a way to control the supremely annoying fan noise on my new, used MacMini Enoserver, I ran across this blog post from indie software developer Hendrick Holtmann at eidac. It kinda freaked me out, and I don't even have an iPhone! Now I'm even more leery.

What Hendrick found is that a company called Pinch Media is offering spyware code that iPhone developers can bury in their software and which will, without the knowledge or permission of the software owner, phone home to Pinch with: the unique user ID of your phone using the software, a time stamp of when app use started and ended, AND the latitude and longitude of your position. Holy smokes!!

Hendrick poked into his phone and found about 1/3 of his apps were using this buried code. There is quite an uproar over Pinch offering this service, but what I haven't seen anywhere is the anger at Apple, who are notorious for their control over the user environment and have allowed this sort of behavior from applications that they have tested and approved for sale in the app store. C'mon!

Those of you without jailbroken phones will just have to wonder which of your apps are doing this and how much of your limited bandwidth this little thing is using without your permission.

I understand the desire from developers for cookies and analytics, but give the consumer a choice.

How horrid.

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