Microsoft accessing initial data from the camera app

Earlier this year Microsoft was brought into the geo-location controversy along with Android and the iPhone, but remained vigilant that no foul play was present. Earlier this month the software giant was attacked again by a lawsuit claiming the camera app in Windows Phone collected and sent location information without prior permission.

Microsoft denied the claims with a firm statement:

"Because we do not store unique identifiers with any data transmitted to our location service database by the Windows Phone camera or any other application, the data captured and stored on our location database cannot be correlated to a specific device or user. Any transmission of location data by the Windows Phone camera would not enable Microsoft to identify an individual or 'track' his or her movements."

Now Rafael Rivera over at Within Windows has posted his own findings that backs up the lawsuit against Microsoft. He found that packets were being sent by the camera app to Microsoft's Location Interference service. What's being sent? OS version, device information (make, model, etc.), local wireless access points and various GUID-based identifiers. 

However, there are a lot of remaining questions: Is Microsoft collecting this data or just pushing it back? What happens when you disable the location service in the camera? (Ansewr: it appears to stop this behavior). In short, it looks like the first time you run the camera app, it gets your location from Microsoft, but once you disable it, that's that.

Check out his full report via the link below. What do you make of Microsoft collecting location data?

Source: Within Windows


Reader comments

Microsoft accessing initial data from the camera app


Yeah well whatever. Doesn't bother me much. Google reads your email and tells you that they're doing it. That it far more intrusive than what OS my phone happens to be running or what street I happen to be on. Some lawyers suck with the **** they can stir up. I'll bet anything google got money behind this. It smells like it.

So, if you turn off Location services, it doesn't send location info. and if you turn it on, it does. Isn't that the whole point?If you want your location to be saved to your photo, the photo app has to get your location when you start it up, so it has something to tag the photo with.All this seems pretty obvious.

Can't say I'm surprised, but I fail to understand why MS was not forthcoming with this info from the outset. Haven't they learned by now that this sort information, like a homophobic politician involved in a "secret" **** affair, will come out. One is almost always better off living honestly with oneself and being upfront from the outset.Even more surprising is that anyone who is "connected" 24/7 via mobile devices, Facebook, et alia, has any true expectation of privacy whatsoever. Your naïvety is charming, but come on. Do you all really expect to live your lives in the cloud and still have the various corporations that maintain your cloud services be completely ignorant of the information which you freely post to the cloud?

Wow, the word **** (three letter word for a non-straight individual) in my post got automagically bleeped. Is that ironic at all? Not quite, I guess...

It should be noted that it only performs these actions on the first load of the camera app. Once location services have been turned off, it no longer sends packets out.I believe the only real complaint here is that it performs this check (since it's unknown whether the data is stored or whether it's just cached) before it asks if it's allowed to.I wish I could see the big deal in one piece of location data being known -- I mean, on my transit to work my face and car, therefore including speed, time, etc. probably exist on over 100 cameras.

Right. This sounds like a bug that MS missed and will be promptly patched up. If it was doing this behind the scenes all the time that's one thing. This is a one time deal that sounds like it was missed in testing.

I wouldn't even call it a bug, by leaving on location services you are agreeing to allow Microsoft to get your location. I personally believe that the OS level privacy policy covers every Microsoft installed application on the phone.

I don't really care about this. Actually, I'm totally fine with it if it helps Microsoft in any way, as long as they don't call me every week selling vacuum cleaners.

Oh no...not another "they're spying on us" price of garbage!Sorry the whole thing stinks of someone trying to be mr goody two shoes. Testing one two...do they know how geo-tagging works? Do they know how Satnav service data works, as well as search? (This is sarcasm people)If you don't want to have the benefits of geotagging on your photos, or have faster response times on your web searches, or your handsets Sat nav then wait longer. Failing that don't have a smartphone, because you'll still moan and moan. Have a dumbfone folks it won't "steal your lives and track you"Seriously, get more of a grip on life and less of a gripe!Pipe-bomb!!

I know this'll smack of conspiracy, but hey...I'd say this is why we had the rumors of September 15th as "Mango Day" ye nothing came to fruition. Because someone complained because of what appears to be a bug or some poorly scripted code, Microsoft held off as they looked into a fix for the issue and whether or not it could be thrown out in the Mango release or would have to be a hot fix....

Where do they grow you people? You know it smacks of conspiracy but yet you state it proudly as if you are going prove a negative. Nothing was EVER to happen on September 15th Alaera. Nothing. Microsoft said Mango would drop in the fall. "Fall", in America begins on the 23rd of September and stretches clear into December. "Mango Day" was always a product of someone's imagination. You know this but continue with this nonsense because facts can't get in the way of your opinion. smh.

I just don't get why people would be afraid? I mean are they doing anything illegal activities? I just don't care if they know where i am at. Actually i prefer they know where i am because it's gonna make my life more easier when using gps and stuffs.