September 1, 2011
Microsoft Collecting Phone Location Data Without Permission
A new lawsuit claims that Microsoft Corp. is keeping track of the location of its mobile customers even after users request that tracking software be turned off.The class action suit says the company intentionally designed software on the Windows Phone 7 operating system to ignore customer requests that they not be tracked.
The lawsuit comes after data surfaced earlier this year that Apple's iPhones collected location data and stored it up for a year. Apple fixed this issue with a patch.
U.S. lawmakers accused the tech industry of exploiting location data for marketing purposes without getting proper consent from millions of Americans in May.
The lawsuit against Microsoft cites a letter the company sent to Congress, in which Microsoft said it only collect geolocation data with the express consent of the user.
"The Windows Mobile operating system is clearly sending information that can lead to accurate location information of the mobile device regardless of whether the user allowed it," Samy Kamkar, a security researcher who made the discovery, wrote in a public analysis on Wednesday.
The litigation claims Microsoft transmits data while the camera application is activated. It seeks an injunction and punitive damages, among other remedies.
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