AT&T Will Stop Selling Its Location Data After Bounty Hunter Report
(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc., facing a fresh uproar over misuse of its customers’ location data, pledged to stop offering the information to third-party services.
The move follows a report by tech website Motherboard, which found that phone-location data was shared with bounty hunters and authorized people. The site, part of Vice Media, reported that it was able to buy the capability to locate a phone for $300 from the black market.
AT&T previously reined in its use of third-party brokers after a scandal last year. In that incident, which surfaced in June, a prison contractor was using the information to let law-enforcement officers track customers without authorization.
Now, the company plans to go further and shut down the sharing of the data altogether.
“Last year, we stopped most location aggregation services while maintaining some that protect our customers, such as roadside assistance and fraud prevention,” Jim Greer, a spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T, said in an email. “In light of recent reports about the misuse of location services, we have decided to eliminate all location aggregation services -- even those with clear consumer benefits.”
The change will be completed in March, he said.
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