WiFi-sniffing -- all the major tech giant's are doing it. But it's for your own better-targeted, location-based good... they swear. It's a familiar story that saw Google get served in France and the UK for its fleet of data-collecting Street View cars, and had Apple accidentally storing users' geographic info unencrypted on their phones. Given the history, it's not surprising to see Microsoft take the offensive by offering up source code from its own 'managed driving' program: the cars that collect WiFi, GPS and cell tower data. With the code out in the open, MS can easily side-step allegations of personal data-mining and continue its focus on improving local search services. The move is further evidence that the Ballmer-led company intends to take user privacy very seriously, having already stopped the tracking of individual Windows Phone handsets last May. Location aware devices are an inevitable part of our search-assisted lives, we just wish they all came with a giant opt-out button.

[Image credit via WinRumors]

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Microsoft offers up 'managed driving' source code, gets back to location-based business