Last week a Federal Lawsuit was filed against Microsoft involving the Windows Phone camera. In a nutshell, the allegations claims that Microsoft is ignoring user requests to not be tracked and is collecting location data whenever the camera is used. While Microsoft has previously denied similar claims, the lawsuit alleges Microsoft was fibbing.
So, to re-affirm their position on such issues Microsoft has issued a statement in response to the latest round of litigation to strike the smartphone industry. Commenting to the IBTimes, a Microsoft Spokesperson stated,
"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."
Additionally, Microsoft is doing their due diligence to investigate the claims raised in the litigation. In our own, non-scientific tests we found that GPS data is not included in the image's EXIF file (file containing all the data for that particular image.) when you turn off the GPS in the camera's settings.
From the Windows Phone Settings Menu, go to Applications and choose Pictures and Camera. From there all you have to do is turn off the GPS settings and that particular data point will not be collected. The first image on this rainy day was taken with the GPS on, the second with the GPS off. The inserts are the EXIF data and clearly shows the absence of any GPS data when the setting is turned off.
Granted, Microsoft could still be secretly ignoring these settings and transmitting the data to servers hidden deep beneath the Redmond Campus. But for now, we'll lean towards Microsoft being on the up and up with this issue. No date has been set for the Court to hear this case and it's even possible the suit could be dismissed in the pre-trial motion phases.