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iPhone, Android Privacy Outdone by Windows Phones

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Last week, news broke on Apple's shady practice of storing the location history of iPhone and iPad users. Two developers discovered a file which listed tracking info accompanied with timestamps that was logged unbeknownst to the user. Last year, Apple responded to a congressional inquiry regarding the matter, saying that the company "must have" the tracking data. Google followed suit this weekend, defending its data-gathering on Android devices, and claimed the information is anonymous and can be switched off. But the Wall Street Journal also discovered that the location tracking doesn't cease on an iPhone even when the location services are disabled.

With location-based apps being indispensable at this point, it would seem that every mobile device has the ability to log where you've been and store it in a searchable file. However, Microsoft told PC Magazine that its Windows phones don't engage in the practice.

Reaching out to Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, Google, and HP regarding the latest discoveries in location data privacy, PCMag's Peter Pachal only heard back from Redmond.

"Microsoft told PCMag unequivocally," Pachal writes, "that phones running Windows Phone 7 do not store location history." He notes that although the platform offers many location-based apps, "those apps require user consent before they begin tracking." Pachal adds, "Windows Phones also offer the common feature of a 'global switch' that lets the user disable all location services, and Microsoft says its 'Find My Phone' service keeps only the phone's most recent location."

But remember, Apple also claimed this data logging can be switched off and look what happened. So until this is "unequivocally" proven, you might want to leave your Windows Phone 7 behind before heading to that Motel 6.

(See also: Apple Secretly Tracking iPhone, iPad Users' Location)

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