When it came out this week that 3G-supporting iOS devices store location data within hidden local files, it incited a public sentiment of outrage. For some, like Senator Al Franken (D-MN), this represents a huge violation of our privacy. (The politician-slash-comedian sent a decidedly un-funny letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, questioning the usage and motives of user tracking.) Meanwhile others, including our own Emily Price, weren’t bothered at all, even seeing some good that could come out of it in cases of crime scenarios like abduction.
Then there are the hackers. You can always count on the geekiest of the geeks to take decisive action, and this is no exception: A new jailbreaking package has made its way to the BigBoss repository called untrackerd, a free utility that stops iDevices from recording location data.
While this may ease a lot of Cydia fans’ minds, John Gruber of Daring Fireball says it might not even be necessary. The local file that stores the location data is a cache file that’s supposed to get wiped out periodically. So, he says, the fact that it doesn’t is probably just an unintentional glitch that will be fixed in a future software update. If you don’t already know, Gruber is sort of a blogger extraordinaire, Apple pundit and insider. In other words, he does tend to know what’s going on inside Cupertino. But if you still don’t find this any comfort, at least there are options available.
Now, we’re not condoning jailbreaking or suggesting that anyone do any illicit or warranty-breaking acts to any of their gadgets, so if you decide to snag the untrackerd utility, then please (1) know that you do this at your own risk, and (2) report back here and let us know how it went.