Windows Phone 7.5 DOES NOT transmit location information without user consent

Microsoft squashes what would now appear to have been a camera app bug.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

Following my post from earlier this week which reported that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system transmitted user information without consent, it appears that Microsoft has fixed this 'bug' in the 7.5 'Mango' update.

Earlier this month Microsoft was hit with a lawsuit which claimed that the new Windows Phone OS tracked users without their consent. Then new evidence came to light which seems to prove that there is some substance to this lawsuit with regards to Windows Phone 7.

Rafael Rivera, one of the programmer behind the Windows Phone jailbreaking tool ChevronWP, took a look at what the OS was up to and found that the camera app was transmitting the following information back to Microsoft:

  • OS Version
  • Device Information
  • Wireless access points in the vicinity of the handset, including MAC addresses and power levels
  • Various GUID-based identifiers
  • Pin-point positioning information

With the Windows Phone 7.5 update now available, Rivera turned his attention to this update and discovered that this is no longer an issue:

I have confirmed that Windows Phone "Mango" no longer sends location data prior to being granted permission to do so. The behavior I'm now seeing is perfectly aligned with Microsoft's letter to the U.S. House of Representatives.

From this we can assume that the previous behavior was a bug. It would be good to have an official statement from Microsoft regarding this and what was done with the information sent by the app to Microsoft's servers.

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