In May, Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter to Verizon inquiring about the use of customers location data. Sen. Wyden sent these letters in search of answers. He wanted to know if Verizon had obtained consent from their customers to do so. Wyden’s interest was captured after a report revealed questionable services provided to prisons by Securus Technologies. The service allowed a former Sheriff to track the cell phones of other law enforcement personnel without proper authorization.
Senator Wyden’s Action And Verizon’s Response
According to the Associated Press, Verizon will cut future plans of selling real-time location data to third party companies. The company has made a pledge to Sen. Ron Wyden. In the pledge, Verizon discusses the measures that will be taken to prevent the misuse of Verizon’s consumers’ location information.
Sen. Ron Wyden responded by saying:
“Verizon deserves credit for taking quick action to protect its customers’ privacy and security,” Wyden said. “After my investigation and follow-up reports revealed that middlemen are selling Americans’ location to the highest bidder without their consent, or making it available on insecure web portals, Verizon did the responsible thing and promptly announced it was cutting these companies off. In contrast, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint seem content to continue to sell their customers’ private information to these shady middle men, Americans’ privacy be damned.”
Verizon reports that they will still provide data to fraud prevention and call routing companies, but they will not be using third-party companies to do so anymore. Instead, Verizon will be working with the fraud prevention and call routing companies themselves.
The Changing State Of Consumer Privacy
Data protection and consumer privacy has become a very hot topic lately due to numerous breaches and mishandling of information by huge companies. It’s heartening to see government officials taking action in a world that fears Big Brother and cell phone spying.
What do you think about the Senator’s investigation and Verizon’s response? Are you impressed with both parties’ reactions? Let us know in the comments section below.