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Verizon To Stop Selling User Location Data to Third Parties

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So you would think that a mobile carrier NOT selling your location data to a third party would be, shall I say, an industry standard.  Well, it's not.  Not yet anyway.  Verizon has announced that it will no longer sell its mobile users location data to any third party intermediaries, according to The Associated Press.  They are the first in the industry to end this practice since it was uncovered by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D) that a company that purchased such information wasn't verifying if its users were legally allowed to track cellphone users while using their service.

 

In a letter to carriers and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), Wyden stated that Securus Technologies, the company in question, "wasn't actually verifying if those documents were legitimate,  Securus did not conduct any review of surveillance requests."

 

Two headline instances of such misuse of this information: 1) A Missouri sheriff was charged with illegally tracking 11 individuals without warrant or court order; with information obtained from Securus. 2) LocationSmart, one of the two companies that purchases user location information directly from Verizon, was leaking real-time location data of customers from every major U.S. carrier, during a free demo tool on its website.  

 

Verizon is the first major U.S. carriers to end this practice and they were applauded by Sen. Wyden for doing "the responsible thing and promptly announced it was cutting these companies off. 

 

It is frightening to think that the other U.S. carries did not follow suit.  We shall see if any do.  If you are at all concerned about your location information being sold to a third or even second party, I would bring you concerns to the attention of your individual carrier or local state or U.S. congressional leader.  There are legitimate uses for your location information (ie real time traffic information and law enforcement uses, when the proper warrants and/or court orders are obtained).  The more people that speak up to have regulations put in place, the safer our information will be.

 

To entire article can be found at: https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/19/17478934/verizon-selling-real-time-location-data-third-party-securus-wyden

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I'm not sure if it's the same thing (though I think it is), but anonymised mobile phone location data is bought by many companies (including Google) to give realtime traffic updates, so if other carriers follow suit then it might end up affecting services like that. It doesn't say in the article, as far as I can see, whether this only affects non-anonymised data or not.


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Any details whether this was done via GPS, or based on proximity to cell towers?


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Making America great again, one consumer data sale at a time


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7 hours ago, colonel_mortis said:

I'm not sure if it's the same thing (though I think it is), but anonymised mobile phone location data is bought by many companies (including Google) to give realtime traffic updates, so if other carriers follow suit then it might end up affecting services like that. It doesn't say in the article, as far as I can see, whether this only affects non-anonymised data or not.

i read that google used their own services for that, they just see where you are and calculate the delay for each road. They don't need to buy the data, all you need is an android phone with location set to on.

This should be for other companies, not google.


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6 hours ago, Zodiark1593 said:

Any details whether this was done via GPS, or based on proximity to cell towers?

Almost certainly via cell phone towers - iOS would not allow such tracking and highlight it hence users would have noticed before this and the use of GPS would require immensely more power as well as an open data connection.

1 hour ago, asus killer said:

i read that google used their own services for that, they just see where you are and calculate the delay for each road. They don't need to buy the data, all you need is an android phone with location set to on.

This should be for other companies, not google.

They probably do both (Google's new motto - More Data, More Better) to improve accuracy as well as to compensate for those turning GPS off.


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11 hours ago, asus killer said:

i read that google used their own services for that, they just see where you are and calculate the delay for each road. They don't need to buy the data, all you need is an android phone with location set to on.

This should be for other companies, not google.

Found this from the Google Traffic Wiki

Source:https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/bright-side-of-sitting-in-traffic.html

Quote

 There's no extra device to plug into your car and no extra software to buy. Google Maps is free and works with most cell phones, and the number of cell phones with GPS is rising every day. Some phones, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Palm Pre, come with Google Maps and traffic crowdsourcing pre-installed (the iPhone Maps application, however, does not support traffic crowdsourcing). Google is fortunate to have a lot of people using our products, and that scale helps make our products better.

This blog is from 2009 though, so the Iphone maps might have been  updated. There was an article from 2013 thats broken from the will that seemed to have more info but I couldnt find it


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