Verizon to end some sale of phone-location data


By FRANK BAJAK AP Cybersecurity Writer

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.

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