Is Microsoft tracking its mobile users?

Exploitation of users location related data could eventually turn out to be an industry worth billions of dollars.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Microsoft in Seattle federal court saying that the company has intentionally designed camera software on the Windows Phone 7 operating system to ignore customer requests that they not be tracked. The complainants allege that Microsoft tracks its mobile customers even after users have requested that the tracking software be turned off.

The litigation has been brought on behalf of a Windows Phone 7 user. It claims that Microsoft transmits data, which includes approximate latitude and longitude coordinates of the user's device, while the camera application is activated. The lawsuit seeks injunction and punitive damages, among other remedies.

The lawsuit also claims that Microsoft has lied to Congress in a letter sent during hearings over how technology companies are using location data. As of now there has been no comment from Microsoft. Earlier concerns have been raised about Apples iPhones collecting location data and storing it for up to a year. The iPhones do that even when the location software has been turned off. After the controversy broke out Apple issued a patch to fix the problem.

The revelation that mobile companies are storing data related users location at any given point of time has led to concerns that the users privacy is being violated. Many concerned parties have been accusing the tech industry of exploiting location data for marketing purposes without getting proper consent from millions of Americans. It is being estimated that the data could eventually become a multi-billion industry.

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