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Microsoft Cellphones Handhelds Privacy Security Software News

Microsoft Releases Mobile Data Collection Source Code 69

mikejuk writes "To avoid the problems that Google and Apple have had with collecting WiFi data and privacy issues Microsoft has just released [some of] the source code used in its mobile data collection system. The code shows how the phones that it drives around don't collect any personal data — just WiFi and cell tower identification so that they can be used in geolocation. The source code is a great educational resouce but as to proving that Microsoft is doing the right thing it just doesn't work. First off, it isn't complete. Second, who is to say that it is the code used in the phones? That's the point of software — it's easy to change. Now if only we can provoke them to release large chunks of Windows or Windows Phone 7...."
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Microsoft Releases Mobile Data Collection Source Code

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  • by Normal Dan ( 1053064 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @05:50PM (#36688226)
    Somehow I get the feeling a full release of the source code still wouldn't be enough to satiate the nerdy masses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 07, 2011 @05:54PM (#36688276)

    Nothing ever will be. If we get full source they will whine that it's in the wrong license or it needs visual studio/windows to compile. Or they will call it useless and whine about that.

  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@gm a i> on Thursday July 07, 2011 @05:59PM (#36688318) Homepage

    First off, it isn't complete. Second, who is to say that it is the code used in the phones? That's the point of software — it's easy to change.

    Blah blah blah. And where's the "REAL" birth certificate??

    No amount of proof is enough for some people.

  • by spd_rcr ( 537511 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:02PM (#36688342) Homepage

    I don't know how this one made it through the slashdot filters to be published. Mikejuk's posting sounds like conspiracy drivel. What Microsoft did was clearly a good effort to try and show the worry-warts what they're doing, but to expect them to give away the source code to their operating systems is just crazy.. their whole business model is based on traditional closed source software.

  • How DO you know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:50PM (#36688766)

    Good question. Very insightful. But how far do you go?

    How would you know that if they released the code that this code is what's really running on your phone? How do you know there isn't a backdoor inserted post compilation?

    How do you know that Linux isn't just a shell around an obscenely stenographed copy of Windows? Do you inspect every single line of code that goes into your machine personally? How do you know the code's not kept in a tiny hardware ROM on all modern chipsets and injected into Linux during boot? Do to read them all, personally? Well you should!

    The sheeple must know! It's a plot by the Skull and Bones society, the Illuminati and the masons, IE9 has links to stuff they put in our water and Windows mobile uses fillings in your teeth as an antenna so the greys can track you from space. Soylent Windows 7 is people! Oh God in heaven it's PEOPLE! ...

    More seriously, yes, it is possible they wouldn't use that actual code in their phones... but Occom suggests they probably do, while Hanlon agrees but clarifies if they aren't it's probably a slightly different version due to that idiot new developer in section 8 that ran the wrong script.

    Eventually, at some point, you just have to either accept what someone's saying or accept there's no trust there and move on. Keep in mind it's practically impossible to avoid cell-tower based snooping and tracking, making this whole point useless because the NSA etc don't need your phone to cooperate for them to get what they want.

  • by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:13PM (#36688940)

    For any non-trivial function its basically impossible to prove exactly what a computer will do


    If this were remotely true then closed-source applications couldn't be hacked. How exactly do you think you crack and application which requires a software key or has a DRM requirement? How do you think they jailbreak game consoles with saved games? The magic of coincidence? Of course not. The look at the binary code, see what it's doing, disassemble/decompile what they can, and trap all network I/O and file I/O. If you really want to know what WP7 is doing, you can reverse engineer it. If DRM -- which is specifically designed to be difficult to reverse engineer or circumvent -- if DRM can be understood with just binary access, the behavior of an OS on a phone which lacks this design focus should not be that difficult.

    Other than being a goodwill gesture (and arguably opening MS up to fraud lawsuits if they are found to be lying), this release doesn't do much at all. However, given what would happen to MS if the code they release here is found to be anything other than what is actually running, I don't believe that they would risk being so stupid as to release anything but the actual source code. MS is in no position in the mobile marketplace to suffer such a gaffe.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents