Yesterday, Dan over at Uneasy Silence discovered a URL embedded into two iPhone applications, which includes your iPhone’s equipment ID. The two iPhone applications are the Stocks and the Weather widgets.
It appears that the URL contacts Apple servers when you use these widgets and it doesn’t return any data, thus indicating that it could be used by Apple for tracking purpose.
As per Wikipedia, the IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network. For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call his or her network provider and instruct them to "ban" the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone useless, regardless of whether the phone’s SIM is changed.
So it is still left to your own interpretation as to why Apple would be tracking it or at least we get a clarification from Apple to let iPhone users know the reason behind the URL and the need for it to contact Apple servers.
I don’t believe it is something to be worried about "Don’t think its Evil" but it is always nice to know from a privacy point of view, what all is being tracked and the reason for it even though I might have agreed to Apple collecting data in the end user agreement.
[Source & image via Uneasy Silence]