Buggy 'Find My Phone' recovery tool on multiple phones sends people to one US home

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You reach into your pocket, expecting your hand to meet your precious smartphone that could have an important message or notification waiting for you. Instead, your hand meets nothing - your pocket is empty. You frantically start searching every pocket and pouch on your being only to come up empty. The stress of losing your phone begins to build, but then you remember "hey, I can always figure out where my phone is with a 'find my phone' app". That device location feature may have once helped a man find his stolen Kia, but multiple device location tools seem to have failed many iPhone owners - all in the same way.

Out in Atlanta, GA, Christina Lee and Michael Saba have been receiving a lot of knocks on their door for the past 11 months. These visitors all have one thing in common: they're looking for their lost/stolen smartphone. At least 12 visitors have shown up at the couple's Atlanta home, many with police officers, looking for their missing devices. The problem is that those lost iPhones and Android devices are not with Christina or Michael, meaning those device-location tools are wrong.

iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski heard the story and spoke up about the potential cause for the faulty reporting. Those 'find my phone' "could have had bad data in the database, either someone using the same MAC address [network] at a different location or just bad GPS data... There are probably a lot of things that could go wrong here, but I'd have to have the phone to actually figure it out."

Should the faulty location reporting continue for lost iPhones, things could take a turn for worse. Perhaps someone is so angry and disbelieving that Christina and Michael could one day have a visitor that won't accept that there's faulty data reporting at-hand and get violent. The couple are in the process of filing a complaint with their local senator and the FCC in hopes someone can do something about this. Michael Saba says that "Public pressure is how stuff like this changes. It sucks that it happens to us, but I hope our experience will lead to it not happening to anyone else".

Indeed, nobody should be put in danger because of bad data reporting and, when a device is lost, the device should be capable of giving off current, accurate positions instead of faulty ones.

Source: Newsweek

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