Microsoft gets slammed with lawsuit for tracking the location of mobile customers

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Just when you thought the location troubles in the mobile industry were finally over, Microsoft is now facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly tracking the location of Windows Phone 7 users without their permission. Apparently, when a user decides to turn off all location services on their device, Microsoft ignores the request and proceeds to store location data.

Rebecca Cousineau, a bold Windows Phone 7 customer, claims the camera application in particular transmits the latitude and longitude coordinates of a device when in use. The lawsuit states Microsoft built the camera app specifically for this purpose, and that Microsoft falsely told Congress it does not track the location of customers once they specify not to.

Earlier this year, Apple and Google faced very similar problems over accusations that both companies were using location services for their own benefits. The stored data was supposedly being shared for marketing purposes without users ever knowing. Weeks later Apple released iOS 4.3.3, which served to relieve any security concerns. The update reduced the size of the cache, put an end to backing up the cache to iTunes, and completely deletes it when a user switches location services off in Settings.

Rebecca Cousineau is suing Microsoft Corporation in representation of herself and any other disgruntled Windows Phone 7 customers. Reuters is reporting the lawsuit “seeks an injunction and punitive damages, among other remedies.”

Now that Microsoft is potentially in even more trouble than Apple and Google were, the company will have to state their case in court if the tracking allegations prove true. They might be able to claim that the issue of the camera application transmitting location data is just a bug and issue a software fix in coming weeks, similarly to the way Apple handled the situation.

Microsoft has not yet released a statement on the matter.

[via]

  • Gserle1

    Does it ACTUALLY transmit the data to Microsoft or is it used by the application to put the GPS location of where the picture was taken in the metadata for the image? If it is transmitting the data can you point to a source (other than this lawsuit which will naturally be biased) saying so?

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