Microsoft Faces Legal Issues After Tracking Mobile Phone Users

When fronting the US Congress in May regarding the tracking of mobile phone users by manufacturers and software providers, a Washington (US) based company said that the tracking of a user’s location helped in delivering improved experiences for users. It told congress that Microsoft collected a limited amount of information. This was being done in order to be able to provide better experiences by determining the location of devices carrying their software. It was emphasised at the time however that this was always done with the absolute consent of the user. Congress was told that the gathering of this type of information was never done with the intention of finding out where any specific unit was going or where it had come from. Even the best mobile phones had been used for this purpose.

No Ulterior Motive Congress Told

It was stated at the same time that such information was handled responsibly, and the result of having a location based feature on a mobile phone was a useful tool for the user to have at his or her disposal. Microsoft never intended to put together any database of information that would end up facilitating any other party to track any mobile phone user, Congress was told.

Despite these assurances Microsoft has since been issued with a lawsuit claiming it had continued to track users’ whereabouts even after users opted out of having such a feature installed on their mobile phones. It has been claimed that the best mobile phones, including those containing  Windows Phone 7, and smart phones, were used by Microsoft to unknowingly track users whenever they used their mobile phone camera. This latest lawsuit, which has been filed through a Seattle court, is claiming that Microsoft continued with their tracking activity following the users closing their location tracking feature. This latest lawsuit claims that Microsoft’s earlier statement to Congress saying such data was only collected with a user’s knowledge and permission was false.

 

Complainant Claims Best Mobile Phones Involved

The lawsuit, filed by Rebecca Cousineau, alleges that the data Microsoft sends back to the company involves the coordinates of a user’s whereabouts whenever the camera is activated. It states that the best mobile phones are involved, including smart phones with Windows Phone 7 software installed which includes Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC 7 Mozart.

Previous concern has arisen regarding location privacy involving Google and Apple. This had resulted in both those companies including Microsoft and Nokia having to appear before the US Congress to explain their policies. This earlier alert came about after researchers found such software installed in the best mobile phones such as iPhones. Similar software was then found to exist in Google Android mobile phones but they satisfied Congress that they had received users’ approval to use the location software.

 

Kelly writes about mobile phone technology for Mobile Phone Finder, providing you with the best mobile phone comparison services online.

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