updated 04:55 pm EDT, Mon April 25, 2011
Few details available
A lawsuit has been filed against Apple regarding location tracking on iPhones and 3G iPads, according to Bloomberg. Two customers have reportedly filed a federal complaint in Tampa, Florida, alleging privacy invasion and computer fraud. More details of the case should emerge in the near future.
At the heart of the matter is a tracking file in iOS 4 recording much of a person's location history, potentially going as far back as the firmware's introduction last summer. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has denied any active tracking, and attempted to shift criticism to Google's Android platform, which has also been accused of breaching privacy. Google in turn claims that Android does not archive any location data without consent.
The level of the iOS threat, at least, may be exaggerated. Although the tracking file is unprotected, reading it requires either direct access or an unlikely remote exploit. Because the file appears to be generating data based on celltowers, its contents are also imprecise, making it of little use for things like stalking or robberies.