Last week a class action lawsuit was filed accusing Microsoft of tracking the locations of the owners of Windows Phone 7-based smartphones, even when users ask that such tracking features be turned off. Now Microsoft has issued an official statement, denying the lawsuit's allegations. At the same time, Microsoft also said it was "investigating the claims raised in the complaint."
The class action lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Seattle, claims that when the camera software in the operating system is turned on, the operating system then sends out the latitude and longitude coordinates of the phone to Microsoft. According to a security researcher hired by the law firm behind the lawsuit, the phones send that location info to Microsoft's inference.location.live.net server.
In a statement sent to the International Business Times web site, Microsoft denied that the information transmitted by the phone could be used for location tracking purposes. It states, "Because we do not store unique identifiers with any data transmitted to our location service database by the Windows Phone camera or any other application, the data captured and stored on our location database cannot be correlated to a specific device or user. Any transmission of location data by the Windows Phone camera would not enable Microsoft to identify an individual or 'track' his or her movements."
However, Microsoft seems to be hedging its bets on this matter. It's official statement added, "Microsoft is investigating the claims raised in the complaint. We take consumer privacy issues very seriously. Our objective was -- and remains -- to provide consumers with control over whether and how data used to determine the location of their devices are used, and we designed the Windows Phone operating system with this in mind."