Microsoft WP 7 Camera Application Collects Location Data Without User Consent

September 24, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Microsoft is in trouble with its Windows Phone 7. It’s not the device that’s caused a lawsuit to be filed against them; rather it’s their WP 7 camera application.

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Seattle district court alleging that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system collects users’ location data, even after users are given the chance to opt out. The Camera application sends the device’s location, complete with latitude and longitude, a unique ID, and nearby WiFi access points, to Microsoft even when the user has not given the app permission to do so.

Now that’s a serious breach of privacy. Especially when the user’s choice in the matter is blatantly ignored.

Microsoft’s actions were claimed to be a part of a plan to create location-aware marketing system, which is supposed to generate ads based on the device’s physical location. Though there is nothing to support this claim, it does look like Microsoft’s landed in deep waters.

It had been Apple, previously, who seemed to be catching all the dirt regarding iPhone and iPad user location data without consent, and now their rival seems to have caught n as well. The Cupertino based company was sued for the offense, and Apple had responded that it was a bug and had promised to fix it.

The class action lawyers claim that Microsoft violated a federal law called the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The company hasn’t commented on the issue yet, but that may be because they are busy dealing with it right now.


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