Verizon pledges to stop selling data through third parties

Wireless carrier’s data can be used to pinpoint location of a customers’ phones

Verizon said it had been supplying customer data to about 75 intermediaries via two California-based brokers, but it will put an end to the arrangement as soon as possible. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Verizon said it had been supplying customer data to about 75 intermediaries via two California-based brokers, but it will put an end to the arrangement as soon as possible. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Verizon Communications Inc, the largest US wireless carrier, pledged to stop selling data through third parties that can pinpoint the location of customers’ phones, according to the Associated Press.

The company made the commitment in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, the AP reported. The legislator had demanded last month that carriers and the Federal Communications Commission investigate the practice of tracking phones by a company that provides services to prisons and jails.

Verizon said it had been supplying customer data to about 75 intermediaries via two California-based brokers, but it will put an end to the arrangement as soon as possible, according to the AP. Verizon, which is based in New York, didn’t have an immediate comment to Bloomberg News.

When Wyden voiced concerns about the practice last month, he noted that wireless carriers are only supposed to provide real-time location data to law enforcement agencies after a court order is obtained. But Securus Technologies Inc, which provides phone services to correctional facilities, was acquiring the data from phone companies and offering it via a web portal, he said.

The practice skirts the carriers’ “legal obligation to be the sole conduit by which the government conducts surveillance of Americans’ phone records, and needlessly exposes millions of Americans to potential abuse and surveillance by the government”, Wyden said at the time. – Bloomberg