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Wireless carriers vow to stop selling customers' location data to third parties

By Shawn Knight · 5 replies
Jan 11, 2019
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  1. A damning report from Motherboard earlier this week regarding the misappropriation of cell phone customers’ location data has prompted a swift response from wireless carriers.

    An AT&T spokesperson told The Washington Post that in light of the report, they are immediately eliminating all dealings with location aggregation services – even ones with clear consumer benefits. The spokesperson said everything will be finalized in March.

    T-Mobile CEO John Legere issued a similar statement on Twitter, vowing to end its work with location aggregators in March as previously promised. Verizon told The Washington Post on Thursday that it, too, is ending its remaining location-sharing agreements. A spokesperson for Sprint told CNET that it has ended its relationship with companies that abuse location data but still provides location data when customers give their consent.

    All four major US carriers vowed to stop selling customer location data to third-parties last June in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Motherboard’s story earlier this week highlighted how customer location data can end up in the wrong hands. Even if carriers sell the data to legitimate companies for beneficial reasons such as roadside assistance, it only takes a few degrees of separation (the roadside assistance company sells it to someone else, and so on) for the data to end up in the wrong hands.

    In Motherboard’s case, they were able to pay a source $300 to get a device’s location data that was accurate within a few hundred meters.

    Lead image courtesy RikoBest via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. ckm88

    ckm88 TS Booster Posts: 117   +85

    Define 'vow'. What a bunch of liars lol.
    SalaSSin likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,249   +3,666

    Is this like marriage where you take your "vows" then spend the next 20 years breaking them?
  4. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 252   +109

    Too little too late.

    I have disabled my second sim, and it will remain off until needed.

    Lost revenue for them, as I won't receive ANY calls, nor respond to texts from that number until I am in my home country now.

    Kind of defeats the purpose of a dual-sim phone, but I'm ok with that.
  5. Strangely enough, the big ad for me on this page, right beside the picture and headline is...
    Enter Any Cell Number, Get Name, Current Location, Pics And More!
    ends with a big green button stating "TRACK NOW"
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,178   +643

    "I've said it before, I'll say it again, you can't have a reasonable expectation of privacy if you use a credit card, drive a car from after 2005, go online ever, or live anywhere other than a shack in the woods somewhere." - Shawn Knight, probably.

    Stop treating privacy like is a right from a long forgotten era. It was attitudes like this that let them get away with this stuff in the first place. Demand you privacy and hold them accountable when they violate that right.

    I also noticed you did not name a single company that would be missed by eliminating these privacy sharing services. I doubt they exist. I can't think of a single service where I go "yeah, I totally want them to know where I am every single waking minute with no way to turn it off", unless that was the actual service (rescue) and not the fee for another service.

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