July 3, 2018
Verizon Wireless (“Verizon”) recently announced that it would end the sale of cell phone owners’ real-time location data to companies that buy and sell access to consumer location data. Within days of Verizon’s announcement, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile piggy-backed on Verizon’s move by announcing that they too plan to limit and/or end sales of location data to data brokers. These wireless carriers—the four largest in the United States—have drawn criticism for the sale of cell phone owners’ location data to data brokers, as this information can be used to identify the whereabouts of almost any cell phone in the United States within seconds.
What motivated these wireless carriers to end sales to data brokers?