Verizon to Put Location Warning Stickers on Phones

Posted by at 10:48 am on April 29, 2011

Verizon in a response to Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey’s call for answers on phone location data said it would start putting a sticker on every phone warning that they tracked location. The removable screen notice would tell users that it could track the real world location and “associate this location data with other customer information.” Subscribers would be asked to check location settings if they’re concerned and to be “cautious” with apps and services.

The labels would come “soon,” Verizon said.

Its warning would be the first of its kind in the US and would be part of a larger response from carriers hoping to defend their part in location practices. Legally, carriers are required to conduct basic tracking to meet rules for emergencies and warrant-guided investigations. Most of the current concern revolves around equal or greater data collection by private firms, which in a lawsuit against Google this week was compared to a warrant order in how well it might identify a user.

Carriers still typically carry information for longer, and at Verizon have records going up to seven years.

Apple and Google are due to appear at a hearing May 10 that would ask them to explain their roles in the situation. The circumstances could draw carriers in if they can persuade Congress that they aren’t as effective at tracking data as the cellular providers they have to use.

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