Feeds

Windows phones send user location to Microsoft

All there in the fine print

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Add Microsoft Windows Phone 7 to the list of mobile operating systems that silently transmit the precise physical location of the device back to a central database.

CNET reported the location tracking on Monday, almost a week after reports of similar tracking in Apple's iPhone and Google's Android mobile OS raised concerns that smartphones could be used by police, civil litigants, or abusive spouses to track an owner's movements over extended periods of time.

Microsoft has said here that when location services for Windows phones are switched on, the devices transmit a unique ID along with nearby wireless networks, their signal strength, and GPS-extracted location to the company's servers.

Windows phones don't store any of the locations on the device itself. By contrast, iPhone 4 stores locations in an easy-to-read file that can store months, and potentially years, worth of data that police have been tapping for years. Android indexes locations of cellphone towers and Wi-Fi networks the handset has connected to, but limits entries to 200 and 50 respectively.

Both Apple and Google have said their phones report their location, but only when the devices' location services are turned on, in keeping with previous disclosures. Neither Apple nor Google has disclosed that location information is also stored on the handset.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to make anyone from the company available to speak about the practice. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.