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Apple’s location files could have an impact on divorce proceedings

When we wrote about searching your spouse’s electronic data on 17th February 2011, we could not have anticipated the public outcry that would come from today’s news that Apple iPhones and iPads contain a hidden file that tracks the owner’s locations. It has been discovered that Apple has been logging the whereabouts of 3G phone and iPad users since it updated its mobile operating system a year ago. The location data is taken from mobile phone masts and Wi-Fi networks and recorded on the device along with the time and date. However, one of the concerns is that when a person syncs their phone or iPad with a computer the information is transferred to the hard drive permanently. Anyone with access to this computer, including a hacker, could then view the user’s movements. It isn’t known why Apple are collecting this data or whether the function can be disabled.

So, what are the implications from this, if you’re going through a divorce?

As we explained in the article in February, whilst your spouse cannot take data without asking, you are obliged to disclose all of your assets and resources in matrimonial proceedings. Passwords and confidentiality does not change this and you cannot hide behind them, just because you consider the data to be confidential. This data falls within this category. Whilst you may consider it to be confidential, your spouse and their legal team may consider it a legitimate part of the ‘full disclosure’ that you are legal required to comply with. The discussions currently happening in the news suggest that we could see an increase in requests to view these files, and in applications for Court Orders for ‘search and seizure’. Only time will tell…

27/04 – Apple publishes their own statement – They say they are not tracking your location, merely recording your phone’s WiFi locations… to read more click here.

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