Sprint promises to finally end sales of location data to third parties

Posted:
in iPhone
Following shortly behind its rivals, Sprint on Wednesday promised that it would at last end sales of location data to third parties -- something it and other U.S. carriers once promised to do before.

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"Last year we decided to end our arrangements with data aggregators, but assessed that the negative impacts to customers for services like roadside assistance and bank fraud alerts/protection that would result required a different approach," Sprint said in a statement to CNET. "We implemented new, more stringent safeguards to help protect customer location data, but as a result of recent events, we have decided to end our arrangements with data aggregators."

"Recent events" is a reference to a recent Motherboard expose that showed a bounty hunter could pay just $300 to track down a T-Mobile phone. The hire went through a third-party aggregator, Zumigo, which was providing access from carriers to a location-tracking service called Microbilt.

Sprint insisted it doesn't "knowingly share personally identifiable geo-location information," but also said it was taking "immediate action" to cut off Microbilt and end a Zumigo contract.

T-Mobile noted that it had "blocked access to device location data for any request submitted by Zumigo on behalf of Microbilt," and would halt all third-party aggregator access in March. Verizon claimed to have already halted a partnership with Zumigo and some other firms prior to the expose, with the temporary exception of roadside assistance companies. AT&T didn't comment but is also expected to end location data sales in March.

Sprint's contract deals will end "in the next several months," according to the company.

Last year all four of the major national carriers wrote letters to Democratic Senator Ron Wyden making similar pledges, following the aftermath of a scandal involving Securus. That firm was found not only to be selling precise location data to police forces, but also the victim of a hack that resulted in hundreds of police officers having their logins stolen. Securus was tapping into data from 3Cinteractive, which got its own content from LocationSmart.
patchythepirate

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    tbornottbornot Posts: 107member
    So how much will this raise our monthly bill to make up the difference?
  • Reply 2 of 6
    tbornot said:
    So how much will this raise our monthly bill to make up the difference?
    You assumed that it had lowered the cost at some point...that revenue was went right to the bottom line for Sprint and was not used in any way to pass savings on to customers. Also, with the merger more than likely to happen, this move means nothing because as soon as complete everything goes to T-Mobile who still sells location data...this is meaningless IMHO
    edited January 16
  • Reply 3 of 6
    What moral bankruptcy makes CEOs ever believe a single customer would EVER willing agree to this.  

    “I” want to vote for the politicians that make every single one of these identity theft schemes a federal felony where the entire board of directors of the offending company spends 20 years in prison.  

    Just once lets have a law that protects citizens from evil, exploitive corporations.  You know, just to see if we like that world.  
    edited January 16 chasmboogerman2000
  • Reply 4 of 6
    What moral bankruptcy makes CEOs ever believe a single customer would EVER willing agree to this.  

    “I” want to vote for the politicians that make every single one of these identity theft schemes a federal felony where the entire board of directors of the offending company spends 20 years in prison.  

    Just once lets have a law that protects citizens from evil, exploitive corporations.  You know, just to see if we like that world.  
    They don't care what the customer wants. They do care about their profits.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,728member
    The word to watch for 2019: 

    knowingly


    patchythepirate
  • Reply 6 of 6
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 792member
    BxBorn said:
    tbornot said:
    So how much will this raise our monthly bill to make up the difference?
    You assumed that it had lowered the cost at some point...that revenue was went right to the bottom line for Sprint and was not used in any way to pass savings on to customers. Also, with the merger more than likely to happen, this move means nothing because as soon as complete everything goes to T-Mobile who still sells location data...this is meaningless IMHO

    According to this they ( TMobile ) no longer are.



    ronn
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