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Microsoft denies they are watching us

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.

source: IBTimes

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Sounds like a bunch of **** to me. If anyone is tracking, check google. They have a history of stealing wireless data while they only supposed to be taking pictures of the neighborhood.
  • I dont really see why Microsoft would need to track folks unless they are selling the data to google.
  • Really?? What are you taking pictures of? Have you ever used a credit card? Hope you like using cash all the time! Pictures are posted all over FB, photosites,and everything else. I have other things that are more important to worry about over whether someone could identify where I was when I took a picture.
  • Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world. Between stalkers, pedophiles, and home invaders, there are many reasons people might not want their exact location included in a photo's EXIF metadata. So it's good to know (for them) that the setting is working exactly as it should.
  • Microsoft knows better, they just spent all those years under DoJ watch. They aren't going to F that up by tracking users without their permission and go right back to detention.
  • You know what, there's a rather big mistake in this whole suit from the start. The setting is to turn of location setting when you upload a picture, not turn off feed back to MS. This is under Settings > Feedback.
  • To the silly people who filed the lawsuit, terrified that anonymous location data may actually be transmitted to Microsoft, all I can say is, welcome to the smartphone world. You want rich, localized experiences on your phone? You can't have that without transmitting location data.And if you DON'T want that, then why did you buy a smartphone in the first place?
  • Considering how aggressive they have been with Marketplace submissions using GPS for a while now, before the Apple scandal, I would be very surprised if it turned out they were doing this.
  • Gonna end up being much headlines for no real problem. The funny part is, that if this lawsuit ends up having no merit, only tech sites like this one will carry the result. All the other news organizations that printed this story only like the headlines when the company looks guilty.