AT&T and Verizon will stop selling real-time location data from users

AT&T and Verizon will stop selling real-time location data from users

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Big data is big business these days and companies can do a lot with even the smallest piece of information from a particular user base. In the Android community, we often talk about this when we’re discussing 3rd-party applications that are selling location data to a different company. But a lot of times the data collected from a developer can actually lead to them improving the application in the future. In either case, owning this 3rd-party data can be an entirely new revenue stream for a company, but AT&T and Verizon Wireless have both pledged they will not be selling location data to 3rd-party companies.

Android’s granular permission feature has done wonders to limit the amount of data shady 3rd-party applications have access to. While this is good for 3rd-party applications, a carrier has much more control of which applications have access to which permissions. These carriers can even go beyond this and leverage their network to provide location data using cell identification, triangulation, and newer advanced forward link trilateration. So they don’t even need to have an application installed with a certain permission.

Ron Wyden, a U.S. senator from Oregon has been outspoken about the issue of these companies selling location data to 3rd-party companies. The Associated Press has just reported that both Verizon Wireless and AT&T have agreed to stop selling this data. Verizon says they stopped selling the data on June 15th and AT&T has said they will do the same. Things are currently unclear when it comes to T-Mobile and Sprint as John Legere has said they will agree to stop selling location data to “shady middlemen,” but that could mean they will continue selling the data to those they deem are not shady.

With pressure from Verizon Wireless and AT&T though, it seems like T-Mobile and Sprint will follow suit as well just so they aren’t singled out by its competition.

Via: Android Central Source: The Associated Press