Microsoft has said its Windows Phone 7 devices are not keeping location data without alerting users.
Microsoft’s newest mobile operating system was the target of a lawsuit last week when security experts determined that Windows Phone 7 cameras were capturing location data any time owners took a photo and were, without alerting the user, allegedly sending that location data to Microsoft.
Microsoft has said any location data cannot be correlated with a specific user, which would ensure users’ privacy.
Privacy concerns about location tracking made news in April when a New York Times article revealed the dramatic extent of smartphone location tracking. Verizon said it would add Surgeon General-style warnings to its phones to make users aware that the carrier will be tracking their location. The move came as a response to inquiries from Congressman Joe Barton and Ed Markey, who were following up on the New York Times article.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all admit to tracking user data in letters made public by the Congressman, but the carriers point out they’re required by federal to track location, since police rely on that data for investigative purposes. All of the carriers say they don’t share or sell the location information otherwise. Verizon says that it keeps the user data for seven years; AT&T says between several days and five years; Sprint says it holds onto data for three years; and T-Mobile was unclear about how long it keeps the information.
VB's research team is studying mobile user acquisition... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.