Redmond, Wash. – Microsoft (NASD: MSFT) has ceased its tying of an
anonymous unique device identifier to location data it collects from Windows
Phone devices, and plans to do away with all such unique identifiers in its
location services, the company said in a blog post.
The company said it was
collecting data about “landmarks” — or nearby Wi-Fi access points
and cell towers — “not where device users are located.”
recently taken specific steps to eliminate the use and storage of unique device
identifiers by our location service when collecting information about these
landmarks. Without a unique identifier or some other significant change to our
operating system or practices, we cannot track an individual device,”
wrote Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s mobile communications business.
move was in response to questions from lawmakers in connection with hearings in
Congress on the location-tracking issue, raised recently when security researchers
discovered Apple’s iPhone and iPad were storing similar location-related data.