Yup. You’ve read it correctly. Your iPhone is secretly talking to things. And it’s something way scarier than the paranormal. Through his sleuthing, Geoffrey A. Fowler of the Washington Post found out that in just a week, his iPhone has reported and given data to about 5,400 hidden app trackers. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what would.
On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.
And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes.
Our data has a secret life in many of the devices we use every day, from talking Alexa speakers to smart TVs. But we’ve got a giant blind spot when it comes to the data companies probing our phones.
You might assume you can count on Apple to sweat all the privacy details. After all, it touted in a recent ad, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” My investigation suggests otherwise.
This isn’t just an issue on iPhones, but on Android smartphones as well.
(Image Credit: Pixabay)