AT&T and Verizon have confirmed that they will stop selling customer location data to brokers who then sell it to others.
Verizon confirmed the move in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who last month wrote letters to all four major U.S. carriers following some location data controversies that emerged in May. Verizon has told the brokers that it was working with, LocationSmart and Zumigo, that it will end their ability to access its customers’ location data as soon as possible. These two brokers provided customer data to around 75 companies.
AT&T has also come out and confirmed that it, too, will stop selling user location data to these brokers “as soon as practical”.
Both Verizon and AT&T made sure to point out that while they plan to cut off these brokers, they’ll be careful not to affect services that are useful to consumers like fraud prevention and roadside assistance.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has said that he’s “personally evaluated” the situation and determined that T-Mobile “will not sell customer location data to shady middlemen.” Sprint said in a statement to The Verge that it “is beginning the process of terminating its current contracts with data aggregators to whom we provide location data.”
While no carriers are going to completely stop collecting and selling location data, it’s good to hear that some of them are going to stop sharing data with some brokers.
Sounds like word hasn’t gotten to you, @ronwyden. I’ve personally evaluated this issue & have pledged that @tmobile will not sell customer location data to shady middlemen. Your consumer advocacy is admirable & we remain committed to consumer privacy. https://t.co/UPx3Xjhwog
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) June 19, 2018