Smartphone Location-Gathering Concerns Target Microsoft
Back in the spring, there was a bit of a kerfuffle surrounding smartphones and privacy violations, with accusations flying around about gathering location data and tracking users without their knowledge or permission. Ultimately, the reaction may have been disproportionate to the actual impact of any questionable data gathering, but it did get the public thinking about the issues surrounding their mobile privacy. We would have hoped that companies were paying attention and had taken steps to avoid that kind of mess again, but it looks some aftershocks are still being felt; a new lawsuit accuses Microsoft of using the Windows Phone camera app to surreptitiously gather data without permission.
According to the suit, seeking class action status, use of the camera sends Microsoft your phone’s location data, without ever getting permission to do so. If this claim is accurate, it would appear to go against statements the company made to Congress that it only collected such information with express permission.
This does sound bad for Microsoft, but right now we don’t have all the facts. We’d like to see some connection logs, at least, before we pass judgment.