Lawsuit Claims Windows Phone 7 Tracks Users
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 allegedly tracks the locations of its users without their consent, according to a new lawsuit.
Filed yesterday (Aug. 31) in a Seattle federal court, the proposed class action suit says that Microsoft intentionally designed the camera software on its Windows Phone 7 to transmit latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, the phone's unique ID and nearby Wi-Fi access points when the camera is turned on.
The suit also says the software is set up to ignore users' requests to turn off the tracking feature, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit stems from the privacy snafu that began in April, when both Apple and Google were found to be secretly recording and transmitting users' location data from iPhones and Android devices.
These findings set off a series of privacy battles in the security world and on Capitol Hill; both Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) spoke out against the privacy infringements caused by Apple tracking its iPhone users.
Apple quickly took action in May by updating its iPhone software to delete stored geolocation tags and minimize the location-tracking database on the phone.
The lawsuit, Reuters said, cites a letter Microsoft sent to Congress in May, in which the company said it only collects Windows Phone users' geolocation data with their consent.
"Collection is always with the express consent of the user and the goal of our collection is never to track where a specific device has been or is going," Microsoft said in the letter, The Register reported.
The lawsuit takes Microsoft to task for what it says is a blatant lie.
"Microsoft's representations to Congress were false," the suit says.