Microsoft: Privacy Bugs in Windows Phone Location Services – Fix on the WaySeptember 29, 2011 No Comments
Microsoft admitted yesterday that they have found and targeted specific instances where Windows Phone sends out information via your camera.Â The software giantÂ states â€œWe have completed our investigation into the Windows Phoneâ€™s location service and the unintended sending of Wi-Fi access point and cell tower information,â€
Microsoft also updated its privacy pages:
â€œWe have identified an unintended behavior in the Windows Phone 7 software that results in information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers being periodically sent to Microsoft when using the Camera application, and, for phones that are configured for US-English, when using the phoneâ€™s voice command features (such as â€œFind Pizzaâ€). For the Camera, the software bug results in the behavior even where you have disabled geo-tagging photos in the Camera application.
The Windows Phone 7.5 update eliminates this unintended behavior by the Camera application and voice command feature. After the update, information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers will be sent when using the Camera application only if you have agreed to tag your photos with location. For voice commands, location information will no longer be requested and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers will not be sent to Microsoft when using voice commands.â€
They also found that Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) does the same thing via the peoples hub:
â€œThis behavior is unintended and will be eliminated as part of the next scheduled update to Windows Phone 7.5. After that update, information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers will be sent only if you have agreed to allow the â€œCheck Inâ€ function of the â€œMeâ€ feature to access and use location information.
You will receive a notice on your phone when software updates are available, and you can always disable all access to location information by applications and collection of location information by the Windows Phone location service at any time by going to Settings > Location and toggling the location switch to OFF. â€
I applaud Microsoft for being so transparent in this privacy issue and I hope they can deliver their promise on fixing this issue right away. I personally don’t mind the whole location thing personally but I do believe people deserve a choice whether or not that information can be sent out.
We will keep you posted as soon as a date for the update is given.