Tag Archives: GPS

Tracing the iPhone’s problem

Ever wondered what a map of EXACTLY where you have been over the last month looked like? Got an iPhone? Well, here’s something you probably didn’t (but should) know!

It may come as a bit of a shock, but you might like to know that your iPhone is actually capable of doing this. The technology is nothing new or special, 3 cell phone towers are used to triangulate your exact co-ordinates which are then stored in a database with a timestamp. Due to the fact that your phone does this without the assistance of its GPS hardware, this is NOT something that can be turned off or that you can opt out of. Though this method of recording your position is potentially less accurate, it is countered by the fact that it stores this information timed to the second. Want to see what this information looks like when its displayed through a program on a computer? Check this out:

Washington DC to New York from Alasdair Allan on Vimeo.

The next interesting (or scary fact), is that it’s been happing since June 2010 with the release of iOS 4. The information is kept in a file that is synced to your computer via iTunes where it can be deleted (along with the rest of your phones back up) but the next time you sync your device a new copy of the file will be created. It is also moved to a new device when the old one is replaced.

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of information about all of this is that it took two security researchers to stumble across it for the information to come to light. Apple have stored all of this without the user’s permission or knowledge through the use of undocumented and seemingly hidden features of its mobile operating system. Telephone service providers are able to record this information however it requires legal documentation and is normally only accessible by the police. It is pretty easy for anyone who has access to your computer to get hold of this information which for some is more worrying than the fact that your phone stores it in the first place. Unfortunately at the moment there is no way of opting out of this either. Discoverers of this information have written a simple program on Mac OS X that is capable of displaying this information on a map which illustrates just how detailed the stored information is. If you’re interested in trying it out visit their website.

As someone who likes to keep my personal information cards close to my chest, I strongly recommend reading the articles that inspired me to write this post, visit:

iPhone Tacker – http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/#1

Gizmodo – Your iPhone is Secretly tracking everywhere you go

The Guardian – iPhone keeps records of everywhere you go

Yours in spying and secretly tracking things,

A tracking device in your undies? Or are you just happy to see me?

The Brazilians have taken tracking devices to deep and dark places!

Unilever’s new campaign for Omo detergent hides GPS devices in 50 two-pound boxes that are activated as soon as shoppers lift the box from the supermarket shelf. Omo’s agency Bullet will “visit” the consumer at home within “a few hours or days” to let them know they won a pocket video camera and a day of fun at a Unilever event.

Does you see this as an invasion of privacy? Is it possible that the tracking devices could end up in the wash…or even my undies? Ha ha!

If a consumer refuses to answer the door for the “visit” (Brazil’s crime rate is quite high), the team will activate the device to buzz, alerting the consumer to the promotion.

The promotion builds on the brand’s international “Dirt is Good” positioning by adding, “Try Something New With Omo.”

The fifty boxes were spread around Brazil in 35 cities and according to Fernando Figueiredo, Bullet’s president, “the nearest team can reach the shopper’s home “within hours or days,” and if they’re really close by, “they may get to your house as soon as you do.” If a box is tracked to an apartment building, the device enables the team to go floor by floor in search of the unwitting consumer.

A dedicated website, experimentealgonovo.com.br (Portuguese for “try something new”) launches in August and will post photos of the winners, their locations, (approximately), and video of the Bullet-Omo teams in pursuit – arriving at unsuspecting consumer’s doors.

Some analysts have criticized Unilever and Bullet for pushing the privacy envelope.

“Anything can happen,” commented Figueiredo. “We have to be innovative, but we don’t know what reaction to expect from consumers. It costs more than a traditional promotion and is riskier because it’s never been done before, but it’s worth it. We believe in using new technology for promotional marketing.”

Whether this will go down as a successful use of technology or a creepy stalker moment remains to be seen. What’s your take?

Yours in advertising,

Word courtesy of brandchannel and myopenkimono