Telecom companies say they won't share your location data anymore

Verizon, AT&T are cutting off location-data sharing contracts

Verizon will stop selling customer location data to aggregators (updated)

But The New York Times found that police and correctional officers could track anyone's location without their consent, because Securus turned over the data without verifying that a warrant had been obtained.

Location data from Verizon and other carriers makes it possible to identify the whereabouts of almost any phone in the US within seconds.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) welcomed Verizon's move to end its agreements with data aggregators, including LocationSmart, which sold location data to a prison tech company that claimed to be able to track any cell phone in the United States "within seconds".

"We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of our customers' location information, and will keep you informed as we execute our plan to terminate these location-based aggregation arrangements with the aggregators", Zacharia wrote. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been probing the phone location-tracking market.

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Verizon claimed that location data was only sold if users had explicitly agreed to it, and that the sale of such information was only allowed "under specific conditions" which include fraud detection "or customer identification among others". A web portal allowed correctional officers to enter any U.S. phone number and obtain real-time location data on consumers.

In a letter sent to Sen.

"Verizon did the responsible thing, " Wyden said Tuesday in a statement.

In today's edition of "you probably didn't know this was still a thing but be glad it stopped", Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have all confirmed that they're cutting ties with some third-party data brokers to whom the wireless networks had been selling customer location data.

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Last Friday, AT&T and T-Mobile also told Wyden's office that they cut off location data access to Securus, but refrained from ending their data-sharing agreements with LocationSmart and Zumigo.

Updated at 4pm ET: Added a statement from Sprint and 4:22pm ET with comment from T-Mobile's chief executive. Last month, Sen. Ron Wyden of OR sent letters to all four major USA wireless carriers, demanding answers about why this sensitive data was in the hands of a third party. It will continue to offer data to fraud prevention and other security-focused companies, however. However, the location sharing was supposed to only take place with a customer's consent.

Gigi Sohn, a former top advisor at the Federal Communications Commission in the Obama administration, said Verizon has lately proven itself a "shining example" on privacy. Aggregators could then share location data with their own customers.

"I think they understand that bad privacy practices are bad for business", she said.

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Moy said Verizon may have been motivated by a $1.4 million FCC fine for an earlier episode in which the company quietly tracked its wireless customers' online travels with a "supercookie" for at least 22 months beginning in December 2012. Following Wyden's letter, security researcher Brian Krebs revealed that LocationSmart was leaking the real-time data "to anyone via a buggy component of its Web site - without the need for any password or other form of authentication or authorization". But the GOP-led Congress quashed those rules a year ago. Zumigo appears oriented to the financial sector, and lists Intel, Wells Fargo and Capital One among investors.

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