Is security of the troops risked by iPods?

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When we talk about not wanting to be tracked by the iPhone, we do it because we don’t like to have our privacy challenged. When the owner of an iPhone happens to be in the military, we should be asking if this is putting their lives at risk.

Stop and think about all the programs that are supposed to be secure only to discover they have been hacked because someone else was smarter.

Apple Sued Over iPhone Data Privacy
The disclosure of Unique Device Identifiers associated with Apple’s mobile devices represents a privacy law violation, the complaint claims.

By Thomas Claburn InformationWeek
February 01, 2011 02:56 PM
Apple last week was sued in San Jose, Calif., for alleged privacy and state business law violations arising from its disclosure of iPhone device identifiers and personal information.

Plaintiff Anthony Chiu, a resident of Alameda, Calif., claims that Apple knowingly transmits data to third parties that can be used to identify users of Apple’s mobile devices, without user consent and in violation of various laws. The legal filing also targets 50 unnamed “John Doe” defendants, raising the possibility that third-party developers of apps that use the data in question could wind up in court.

We spoke with Chris Sather, Product Management for Network Defense at McAfee about McAfee’s next generation firewalls that analyze relationships and not protocols.

The case hinges on Apple’s use Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs), serial numbers associated with every mobile device. The complaint states that Apple allows UDIDs to be displayed to application developers and allows downloaded apps to access the user’s browsing history whenever the user clicks on an ad or application using his or her mobile device.
read more here
Apple Sued Over iPhone Data Privacy

These are not just personal phones heading into combat with the troops, but they have been handed out to them by the military as a new weapon to help them. Is the same technology being used on the iPod? What happens if someone hacks into them and finds out where they are if these phones are tracking their every move?

Apple’s New Weapon
To help soldiers make sense of data from drones, satellites and ground sensors, the U.S. military now issues the iPod Touch.

Tying the hands of a person who is speaking, the Arab proverb goes, is akin to “tying his tongue.” Western soldiers in Iraq know how important gestures can be when communicating with locals. To close, open and close a fist means “light,” but just opening a fist means “bomb.” One soldier recently home from Iraq once tried to order an Iraqi man to lie down. To get his point across, the soldier had to demonstrate by stretching out in the dirt. Translation software could help, but what’s the best way to make it available in the field?

The U.S. military in the past would give a soldier an electronic handheld device, made at great expense specially for the battlefield, with the latest software. But translation is only one of many software applications soldiers now need. The future of “networked warfare” requires each soldier to be linked electronically to other troops as well as to weapons systems and intelligence sources. Making sense of the reams of data from satellites, drones and ground sensors cries out for a handheld device that is both versatile and easy to use. With their intuitive interfaces, Apple devices—the iPod Touch and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone—are becoming the handhelds of choice.

Using a commercial product for such a crucial military role is a break from the past. Compared with devices built to military specifications, iPods are cheap. Apple, after all, has already done the research and manufacturing without taxpayer money. The iPod Touch retails for under $230, whereas a device made specifically for the military can cost far more.
read more here
Apple’s New Weapon

As you can see from the Apple site, it looks like the same technology is available. If they can find a lost iPod Touch, then their iPods can be traced as well.

If you lose your iPod touch, help is only a tap away.
Locate your iPod touch on a map.
Apple iPod Touch
People misplace things all the time. Fortunately, if your iPod touch is one of those things, Find My iPod touch can help. It’s a feature that’s part of MobileMe, but now it’s also free on every iPod touch (4th generation) with iOS 4.2 or later.1 Enable Find My iPod touch in Settings. Then if you misplace your iPod touch, you can sign in to me.com from any computer web browser or using the Find My iPhone app on another iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad to display its approximate location on a map.2

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