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Lawsuit alleges that Windows Phone 7 tracks users

Camera app fingered in claims

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Microsoft is facing a lawsuit that claims it tracks the location of its smartphone users, even if they ask not to be followed.

A class action suit was proposed against Microsoft in a filing in the Seattle federal court. The filing alleged that the software giant had lied in its letter to Congress in May this year, when it said it only collected location data with the express permission of the user, according to Reuters.

"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.

Worries about how much info smartphones collect and how the captains of the technology industry use that info were kicked into high gear in April, when security researchers said the iPhone kept track of everywhere you went and saved the details to a secret file. The files were stored on the phones and were also copied over to users' computers when they synched with the iPhone, with up to a year's worth of location data kept.

After the story broke, US lawmakers started a probe into location tracking on mobiles, and sent letters to Apple, Microsoft and other mobile OS developers, as well as carriers, asking for information on location data on their phones and tablets.

Today's suit has been brought by a Windows Phone 7 user and claims that Microsoft transmits latitude and longitude coordinates, a unique ID and nearby Wi-Fi access points when the camera application is activated, even when the user has not given it permission to do so. The suit is seeking an injunction and punitive damages.

Microsoft declined to comment when contacted by The Reg. ®

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