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Windows Phone 7 operating system  (Source:
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 cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 9:54:19 AM , Rating: 1
claims that Microsoft intentionally designed the camera's software on WP7 so that customer requests to not be tracked would be ignored.

How is this woman going to prove they "intentionally" ignore the request. This could simply be chalked up to a mistake in writing the code. I'm sorry but programmers are human too, we make mistakes. I think it was a mistake to word it that they intentionally did this. If instead she was suing just because they did do it and they allowed faulty software out the door that might make a little more sense.

RE: Intentionally...
By DrApop on 9/1/2011 10:16:37 AM , Rating: 3
Well, did she tell them not to track her? Did they say they would not? Are they still "logging" her locations?

If they said they would not track yet they still have, and are receiving locations data AND logging the information. Well that is more than a simple programming error.

If they are not logging the info but are still receiving the info, they ought to tell users that it can't be turned off even if MS isn't collecting the data.

Just my opinion

RE: Intentionally...
By cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 10:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
But if no one told of the bug they would not know that it is there. Also it could be a simple program error if say when you hit "Don't Track Me" some code might have been commented out when they were developing and forgot to uncomment it. It could be as simple as that. I am just saying the lady doesn't have a clue why it is still tracking but I highly doubt it is because MSFT intentionally left it to track her.

RE: Intentionally...
By kleinma on 9/1/2011 10:21:50 AM , Rating: 3
I am more curious to know exactly how this woman knows data is being transmitted???

RE: Intentionally...
By cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 10:24:08 AM , Rating: 1
I bet this is more an issue in that she accidently hit yes track me when she meant to say no.

RE: Intentionally...
By R3T4rd on 9/1/2011 10:30:03 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like this is the case. Until technically proven like that of Apple's iPhone, I would take what this women claims with a grain of salt. I want facts not someone crying foul.

RE: Intentionally...
By Ristogod on 9/1/2011 10:32:48 AM , Rating: 1
It's hard to believe that anyone could be so up in arms over the whole deal. Quite frankly I don't buy her concern that her privacy was violated and therefore she MUST sue. This is obviously an opportunist hoping to make a quick buck at the expense of a huge conglomeration where it seems that it has no real impact on any other human beings.

I say send this lady downstream.

RE: Intentionally...
By DrApop on 9/1/2011 11:29:42 AM , Rating: 1
Sounds like you have absolutely no problem if businesses and or the government says that they MUST track your locations 24/7...ala "1984"

RE: Intentionally...
By cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 11:54:49 AM , Rating: 2
But it's different if you choice to be stupid and hit yes track em instead of no don't which is probably what happened here.

RE: Intentionally...
By drycrust3 on 9/1/2011 12:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like you have absolutely no problem if businesses and or the government says that they MUST track your locations 24/7...ala "1984"

The location of a phone (or whatever) is probably less useful to a government than the conversations going on around it, and the software to record those as mp3 and then transmit them to a remote location has been readily available on the internet for quite a while. The fact this lady claims Microsoft is tracking her but not recording her conversations is a pretty good indication this is more likely to be an accident than a government sponsored feature.
As I understand it, if you mobile phone can be pinged by two or more cell phone towers then the cell phone company knows where you are with reasonable accuracy.
My guess is that if this was intentional then I really doubt that this lady would have found out about it because it would have been designed so that even suspicious experts would have trouble finding it. There are probably a dozen different ways a government could track a phone that are less detectable than what has happened here (e.g. being pinged by several towers).

RE: Intentionally...
By Argon18 on 9/1/2011 12:02:04 PM , Rating: 1
It's funny, I'll bet you are one of the same people who feigned outrage over the whole iPhone 4 tracks-your-location thing.

RE: Intentionally...
By Reclaimer77 on 9/1/2011 11:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
Just another ridiculous try to get rich quick lawsuit. At no point were her rights or person violated and she can't prove any malice or intent on Microsoft's part.

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
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.

Easy way out of this one
By shane.carroll on 9/1/2011 3:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
1. Say everyone that was tracked agreed to it.
2. Recant your story about people agreeing to it, change story to "It was a software bug. We did it accidentally."
3. Recant that story, change to "What tracking? It never happened. Android is tracking you! Look over there!"
4. Everyone who owns a product with your logo on it will continue to buy more of them.

Did I miss any steps? Worked for Apple.

RE: Easy way out of this one
By cjohnson2136 on 9/1/2011 4:12:03 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter she screwed herself when she said "intentionally". She will never win because she can't prove intent

By Aries1470 on 9/5/2011 12:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
Please read: Transmit Data.

For those of you that have a camera with Geo-Tagging, can you please explain how that transmits data?
When you take a photo with Geo-tagging, it should have nothing to do with transmitting your co-ordinates / location. Those with A-GPS, it uses tower triangulation to make it faster to get an approximate location. The ones that use the GPS, gets the co-ordinates from the receiver and the phones software ADD's those details to the photo, there is NO NEED TO SEND YOUR LOCATION ANYWHERE! .
Now can you all go back under your rocks that just attack without merit or reading thoroughly what the case is mentioning.
What it is saying is that she did NOT want to be tracked. She or anyone would love to put geo-tagging on their photo's so they can remember where they took them.
Now can you tell me that it was a "programming" error / omission! When you do your programming, you add the functionality to add a string of co-ordinates. Now if you add the functionality that you are transmitting the location data, that is above and beyond your requirements.
So if someone with a SANE and COMPELLING reason can tell me WHY it needs to TRANSMIT your location when you have mentioned that you do not want it sent, then please be my guest, just remember to post FACTS, not ideas... or wishful or was it witchful ;-) thinking.
There are so many phones on the market that do NOT transmit your data! while taking photo's there is no need to, even when you have geotagging enabled.
Remember, we are talking about sending information when taking photo's, it is not the same as requesting maps.

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