Windows Phone 7 Data and Privacy

January 27, 2011, By Christian Cawley

With the wonderful social networking integration offered by Windows Phone 7, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is quite a public facing mobile platform that displays all of your personal details to the world.

Windows Phone 7 Data and Privacy

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Although Windows Phone 7 does offer currently unrivalled social networking, it also offers a way to remove these services as well as allowing you to maintain your privacy in a number of different ways.

Windows Phone 7- Escaping the Social Networks

In addition to Facebook, Windows Phone 7 offers native integration with Windows Live via the People Hub, where you can enjoy status updates from friends and relatives, check their recent photos and of course tap their phone numbers to call them.

But both of these services can easily be disabled, allowing you to restore the People Hub to its most basic purpose – a list of your contacts, where you can find mobile and landline numbers, street and email addresses, and even website URLs.

In order to do this, go to Settings > Applications > People and find your Facebook account; tap and hold to display the menu and select Delete to remove it. If you would prefer to leave Facebook on your phone but not have any integration with your People Hub contacts, select Only add Facebook information to existing contacts. While not as comprehensive a solution, this will prevent Facebook contacts from appearing on your phone unless they already exist in your address book.

Privacy and Personalization

In order to make certain services relevant to you Windows Phone 7 uses localization processes. These can be disabled in Settings > Location, although there are several application-specific controls that you might prefer to use.

One example of this is Search, where Bing searches for items based on your search phrase and current location.

If you would prefer to disable this setting, go to Settings > Applications > Search and disable the Use my location option. Similarly you can use Settings > Applications > Maps to disable the use of localization technologies in determining your position when using Bing Maps, although this might lead to problems using the app correctly.

Meanwhile you can use Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer to Delete History and toggle whether you want to Allow cookies.

Caller ID and Passwords

As well as protecting your personal privacy on the various Windows Phone 7 web services you can also block your caller ID from being displayed (network permitting). This is done in Settings > Phone > Show my caller ID to, where you have the choice of displaying your caller ID to everyone, no one or your contacts.

Finally, you can protect your phone further still by applying a 4-digit password to be entered whenever the screen times out.

This is setup via Settings > Lock & Wallpaper – switch the Password option to On and tap Change Password to enter a 4 digit code. Note that you can also adjust the Screen time-out.

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