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AT&T to end all location-data sales to data brokers

By The News · 11 of January 2019 02:26:48
In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T says it will stop selling customer location data to data brokers, as the telecom industry faces backlash that the data has been used improperly. The company says it will eliminate even the kind of selling it calls helpful for consumers. Last year, AT&T pledged to stop providing location information to data brokers. But it kept selling to some services such as those that help with roadside assistance. That will end by March 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file), No available, In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T says it will stop selling customer location data to data brokers, as the telecom industry faces backlash that the data has been used improperly. The company says it will eliminate even the kind of selling it calls helpful for consumers. Last year, AT&T pledged to stop providing location information to data brokers. But it kept selling to some services such as those that help with roadside assistance. That will end by March 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)

AT&T says it will stop selling all location data from mobile phones to brokers following a report that companies are still selling that information to shadowy companies without customer knowledge.

Last year, AT&T and other carriers pledged to stop providing location information to data brokers. But AT&T made an exception for useful services that, for instance, help customers with roadside assistance or fraud protection. Now the company says it will also end those sales in March.

The move follows a Tuesday report on Vice’s Motherboard site that showed how bounty hunters can track phone locations using carrier data.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has been pushing mobile providers to end location-data sales. He said Thursday that Congress needs to pass legislation to ensure they come to a halt.