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Windows Phone 7 operating system  (Source: liewcf.com)
The lawsuit was filed in a Seattle federal court yesterday, and claims that Microsoft intentionally designed the camera's software on WP7 so that customer requests to not be tracked would be ignored

Earlier this year, we discovered that Apple was tracking users' locations via iPhones and iPads, and then storing this information in a local file. Now, Microsoft is allegedly tracking users' locations with software on the Windows Phone 7.

Camera software on the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 operating system has allegedly been tracking the location of its mobile users -- even after they request that the tracking software be turned off. 

U.S. citizen and Windows Phone 7 user Rebecca Cousineau is now 
suing Microsoft on her own behalf and on behalf of all others who have this software. The proposed class action was filed in a Seattle federal court yesterday, and claims that Microsoft intentionally designed the camera's software on WP7 so that customer requests to not be tracked would be ignored. In addition, the litigation claims that Microsoft transmits data while the camera software is on, such as latitude and longitude coordinate's of the device. 

The lawsuit also presents a letter that Microsoft sent to Congress saying that the company only collects geolocation data with consent of the user. 

"Microsoft's representations to Congress were false," said the lawsuit. 

The case is Rebecca Cousineau, individually on her own behalf and on behalf of others similarly situated v. Microsoft Corp., 11-cv-1438. It will take place in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, and Cousineau seeks an injunction as well as punitive damages and "other remedies."
 

The tech industry has faced increased scrutiny from lawmakers in recent years due to the exploitation of location data for marketing-related reasons without the user's consent. Tech companies like Apple and social networking giant Facebook are just a couple of examples of those who collect information such as geolocation data. With the data/location mining industry becoming a "potentially multibillion-dollar industry," tech companies are beginning to jump on the bandwagon.



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By Avatar28 on 9/1/2011 10:43:15 AM , Rating: 3
In short, there are two separate settings. There is setting for find my phone that lets you opt IN to tracking to make it easier to locate your phone. There is also a setting on the camera for it to geotag your photos with location. Of course, that is something that Android and probably iPhone do as well, not to mention higher end digital cameras with built-in GPS.

If I had to guess, she turned off the find my phone feature but neglected to turn off geotagging. She looked at her photos, saw the GPS coordinates on them, and promptly freaked the hell out.




By cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
I would agree but the thing is just because she says they are intentionally doing this for one does not mean they are doing it at all and two if they are does not prove they are doing intentionally.

And I don't think the OP was talking about giving up his right to privacy he was simply saying there are two different times that WP7 asks if you want to be tracked, one for geocoding photos and another for tracking the location of your phone in case it is lost. He said she probably said no to one and not the other. Which is user error and not MSFT fault.


By Avatar28 on 9/1/2011 12:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
That is EXACTLY the point I was making. I never suggested anyone should give up the right to privacy by having a smartphone.

I don't remember if I was asked about enabling Find My Phone during the initial setup or not. I know it didn't ask me about the geotagging though. To find that one you have to look under the camera settings, a location I find more intuitive than having it buried under Find My Phone.


By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/2011 11:41:03 AM , Rating: 2
Her rights weren't violated. It's her fault that she was using a product and was ignorant of it's features.

Come on dude, this is like using the Internet and claiming your rights are violated because your IP is being logged all over the place. Well duh.


By drycrust3 on 9/1/2011 12:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's her fault that she was using a product and was ignorant of it's features.

It is probably almost impossible to document all the features of a smartphone. That said, one would expect the important ones to be documented in the user's guide, which most people don't bother to read.
I think that you pretty well have to accept a phone as having undesirable features that you yourself need to attend to when you get it. Obviously this is one such feature. I think having to supply your email and password to get apps is far more intrusive.


By Avatar28 on 9/1/2011 12:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
I hope this lady doesn't plan on using maps, local search, or anything like that because, guess what, they all have to send your location back to download the appropriate data.


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