|02 Aug 2011||#1|
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Microsoft tweaks location services in response to privacy fears
Microsoft announced on Monday a change to its geographic location positioning service.
The change was implemented on July 30 and addresses an issue highlighted by security researcher Elie Bursztein. CNET ran a story last week concerning Microsoft’s location database and highlighted an obvious privacy flaw. Microsoft has been collecting the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones and other Wi-Fi enabled devices worldwide. The database of locations was freely available on the web without any tight security or restrictions.
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|04 Aug 2011||#2|
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Microsoft locks down Wi-Fi geolocation service after privacy concerns
Microsoft has restricted its Wi-Fi-powered geolocation database after a researcher investigating Wi-Fi geolocation and position tracking raised privacy concerns about the information recorded. This follows a similar move from Google, amidst identical privacy complaints.
A number of companies including Microsoft, Google, and Skyhook operate Wi-Fi geolocation databases as a means of providing quick and reasonably effective location information to phones, tablets, and laptop computers. Every Wi-Fi and Ethernet device has a unique identifier called a MAC address. Wi-Fi access points broadcast their MAC addresses so that any nearby machines can see the access point and connect to it. Companies building geolocation databases collect access point MAC addresses and GPS locations, then publish this information online. (Community projects such as Wigle accumulate similar databases.)
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