WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Verizon’s decision to end sales of phone-location data to brokers (all times local):
AT&T is joining Verizon in pledging to end sales of phone location data to brokers.
The practice has drawn criticism from privacy advocates who say users often don’t know their data has been sold.
AT&T spokesman Jim Greer tells The Associated Press the carrier will stop as soon as practical. Like Verizon, AT&T says it needs to make sure essential services as emergency roadside assistance are not affected.
Verizon disclosed its move in a letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat.
Wyden has revealed abuses in the lucrative, loosely regulated field — including the use of such data by law officers to track people without proper oversight.
Verizon said about 75 third parties have obtained its location data from the two little-known California companies it is cutting off.
Verizon is pledging to stop selling data to outsiders through intermediaries that can pinpoint the location of mobile phones, the Associated Press has learned.
It is the first major U.S. wireless carrier to step back from a business practice that has drawn criticism for endangering privacy. The data has allowed third parties to track wireless devices without their owners’ knowledge or consent.
Verizon says it has been supplying the customer data to about 75 third parties via two California-based brokers and will halt that arrangement as soon as possible.
The company disclosed its plans in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden.
Last month, Wyden revealed abuses in the lucrative but loosely regulated field. They involved a former Missouri sheriff who allegedly used a location tracking service to surveil colleagues.