Only if users allow an application to access location data, says Microsoft
Microsoft has revealed that it also collects user location data of Windows phones users, but said only if users allow an application to access location data and when that particular application requests location information.
This news follows the reports of similar tracking in Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS, raising concerns among the smartphone users.
Though Microsoft and Google have said that location data sharing by smartphone users is opt-in, Apple has not commented on this issue yet.
The location data is transmitted to the Microsoft’s central database if a user switches on location services. A unique ID along with nearby wireless networks, their signal strength, and GPS-extracted location are transmitted.
Windows phones unlike iPhone don’t store any of the locations on the device itself, while android indexes locations of cellphone towers and Wi-Fi networks, with limited entries.
Microsoft collects location information about nearby Wi-Fi access points when the smartphone switches on Wi-Fi , and also when the user’s GPS is turned on.
However, the company has not made clear how long it retains data collected from user phones and whether it stores the data in on user devices.