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News Flash: Android Stores Your Location Data Too!

News Flash: Android Stores Your Location Data Too!

If you haven’t heard about the iPhone tracking drama all over the internet, you’ve probably been dead. Interesting, according to developer Magnus Eriksson, Android does the exact same thing – and likely for the same reason – location-aware apps!

Erikkson has created an app to locate the location data, and he found it in a data file called cache.cell. The below data dump from cache.cell (containing latitude, longitude, and time) is a sample of the entries that it logs.

$ ./parse.py cache.cell
db version: 1
total: 41

key accuracy conf. latitude longitude time
240:5:15:983885 1186 75 57.704031 11.910801 04/11/11 20:03:14 +0200
240:5:15:983882 883 75 57.706322 11.911692 04/13/11 01:41:29 +0200
240:5:75:4915956 678 75 57.700175 11.976824 04/13/11 11:52:16 +0200
240:5:75:4915953 678 75 57.700064 11.976629 04/13/11 11:53:09 +0200
240:7:61954:58929 1406 75 57.710205 11.921849 04/15/11 19:46:31 +0200
240:7:15:58929 -1 0 0.000000 0.000000 04/15/11 19:46:32 +0200
240:5:75:4915832 831 75 57.690024 11.998419 04/15/11 16:13:53 +0200

The file contains what Eriksson calls “coarse” location data, likely obtained by a cellphone tower, not the GPS. The file is only accessible on rooted devices, similar to the way that iPhone used to store data before it was made available as a developer API for location sharing. He mentions that it’s likely that the data is transmitted and received in the same way by Apple.

The article, over at TNW, goes in to a great deal of additional detail, but I have brought out what I consider to be the most important highlights for most people. If you’d like to take a look at the full report in its entirety, head on over to TNW.

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