Microsoft Violating Privacy Policy While Snooping On Electronic Gadgets to Provide Search Results

In a shocking revelation, it has come to light that Microsoft has thrown privacy policy out of the window as it tracks and collects locations of innumerable electronic gadgets such as laptops, wireless systems and cell phones and the information gathered is made available on The technology used in this snooping work can give location of a device very precisely by pointing to the exact address, street and building. The devices that are monitored include various devices such as devices from Apple, Android and BlackBerry. Almost all Wi-Fi enabled devices are being monitored.

Besides amassing a huge amount of data, Microsoft has not applied privacy policies but has made the information open to all. While other companies like Skyhook Wireless and Google do undertake such operations, access to the collected data is kept very limited, hence ensuring the privacy policy.

According to Microsoft, the information, which is collected through Windows 7 gadgets, is to be used as a source of providing search results. Wi-Fi signals, which can be tapped form public places in what is called “managed driving”, is used to gather information. Information such as movie times, directions, maps and weather is provided to users by monitoring their exact location. Although the intention is correct, making the information public is not.

A Stanford Security Laboratory postdoctoral researcher is working on analyzing the application programming interface, known as API, of Microsoft. The researcher, in collaboration with two researchers, plans to make a presentation on his analysis in Las Vegas during the Black Hat Security Conference. He approved Google’s method of dealing and handling the data, with respect to security.

Although several queries are begin thrown at Microsoft regarding the revelation, the company is yet to make a comment. Questions are based on security concerns. Monitoring only Wi-Fi locations and publishing them is not a matter of big concern when it comes to security. However, monitoring devices other than those connected to Wi-Fi can be a matter of security concern since information is not kept private.

Google, on the other hand, employs a lot of filters before answering search requests from users. Users who are searching need to know the near proximity of the searched. Information is kept more classified and Wi-Fi addresses are not included. Wi-Fi MAC address, which is used by Android and iPhone are changes to another address starting from 02:1A when they act as access points. The database of Google does not include changes addresses. Microsoft, however, lists these addresses as well.