Microsoft Stirs Privacy Controversy, Live.com Exposes Location Data of Users

Software giant Microsoft might be latest in line to stir a privacy controversy after Google and Apple, as its Live.com website exposes location data of millions of users.

According to CNET, the company has stored location data from millions of laptops, mobile devices and other Wi-Fi enabled devices and placed it on the web, without deploying the necessary security measures, for anyone to see.

The report claims that the database collected by Microsoft, which is available from Live.com, exposes the exact location data it has collected from devices based on Android, iOS and other devices connected to Wi-Fi.

It is clear that unlike Google, Microsoft has not placed security measures that determine who has access to the sensitive user location data.

“To provide location-based services, Microsoft collects publicly broadcast cell tower IDs and MAC addresses of Wi-Fi access points via both user devices and managed driving,” Reid Kuhn, a program manager with Microsoft's Windows Phone Engineering Team said in a statement.

“If a user chooses to use their smartphone or mobile device as a Wi-Fi access point, their MAC address may also be included as a part of our service. However, since mobile devices typically move from one place to another they are not helpful in providing location. Once we determine that a device is not in a fixed location, we remove it from our list of active MAC addresses,” he added.