Later it emerged that Google Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 also use similar techniques to store information about the users’ location.
Google acknowledges that the company uses the information but that it cannot be linked to a specific phone or user. According to Google, users can also turn off tracking on the phone if desired, something that can also be done on the iPhone. Apple has not yet commented on the criticism.
After it was revealed this week that even Windows Phone 7 collects tracking data, Microsoft has now explained how it all works. According to Microsoft, information is collected only if the user allows an app to do so, such as Facebook or Gowalla.
The information is then stored locally on the phone in a database that only Microsoft has access to. Microsoft periodically collects information from users in order to create a database of cell towers and wireless networks.
The information sent from Windows Phone 7 to Microsoft is linked with a temporary ID number for the phone. The ID number is deleted after a certain time and, according to Microsoft, cannot be linked with a specific phone or user.
However, the company does not state how long the temporary ID number sent with the position is saved or when it is replaced with a new ID number.
In the US, two customers have already sued Apple for the tracking and the company is now being investigated by several European countries, but not Sweden so far.
According to the news agency Reuters, the US Senate and the House of Representatives yesterday began an investigation into tracking among mobile phones, despite the fact that since 2001 there is a law that mobile phones in the US must collect information about the users’ location.