Microsoft admits location data privacy breach, promises Windows Phone 7.5 fixes it

Microsoft has issues a statement admitting to the accusations that their camera app ignores user preference and still transmits location data to Microsoft even when the user declines the request.

In a statement the spokesman said:

“We 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 phone’s voice command features (such as “Find Pizza”). 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.”

Interestingly their investigation also uncovered that a location privacy bug still exists in the Me tile in Mango, but that this will be eliminated in “next scheduled update to Windows Phone 7.5”

“This 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 “Check In” function of the “Me” 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. ”

Maybe those lawyers were not that scummy after all? Do I see a fast settlement coming?

Via Winrumors.com

Thanks Brian for the tip.

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