Microsoft Slapped with Lawsuit Over Mobile Location Tracking
The folks at Microsoft are about to endure the same hellish ride that Apple endured earlier this year in the wake of lawsuits, legal threats, and public criticisms stemming back to complaints that iPhones were tracking user location information. Apparently, the Windows 7 Phone will be similarly subjected to the scrutiny of user privacy critics.
This week, a lawsuit was filed in a district court in Seattle. The suit accuses Microsoft of tracking Windows Phone users without their knowledge or permission. More specifically, plaintiff Rebecca Cousineau says Microsoft is building a targeted location-based advertising system, the result of which has Microsoft “mapping the locations of cell towers, wireless routers, mobile phones, and computers.”
The complaint asserts that Microsoft is making the willful decision to collect this information from Windows Phone users rather than go through "the expensive and laborious process" of collecting the information through more costly and time-consuming processes.
“Microsoft’s scheme is executed through its camera application, which comes standard with a mobile device running the Windows Phone OS,” the complaint states, according to a published report from InformationWeek. "Microsoft brazenly continues to collect users’ location information, regardless of whether or not the individual chooses ‘cancel’ so as to not allow such information to be tracked,” the complaint adds. “Thus, Microsoft surreptitiously forces even unwilling users into its non-stop geo-tracking program in the interest of developing its digital marketing grid.”
For the time being, Microsoft is not offering comment on the suit or the underlying allegations.