Verizon to put location tracking warning notice on its phones

Verizon has announced that it plans to put a notice on all of its phones, saying that they are capable of "determining its (and your) physical, geographical location". This revelation comes several days after it was revealed that Apple's iPhone and 3G iPads have been keeping track of their owners' location since the iOS 4 update was launched back in July 2010.

Forbes.com report that Verizon's move to put such a warning label on their phones was revealed via a letter to US House of Representatives members Joe Barton and Ed Markey. The two lawmakers have been putting pressure on the four major wireless phone providers to disclose what information the companies get from such services as well as other security concerns. The Verizon letter, posted on Rep. Markey's official web site, said that the warning notice will be put on the screen of its various phones "soon" but no specific dates were announced.

Oddly the four major wireless carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint) are actually required by law to keep track of the location of their phones. This is in order to help law enforcement officials with their investigations. However, the four companies also insist they don't offer up that info with outsiders nor sell that information. This didn't placate Rep. Barton, who said in a statement that he still had a "feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty" after reading the responses from the four companies. In particular, he worries about third party applications that might access that location info. He wrote, "While I am happy to hear that carriers inform their customers of the risks of using independent third-party applications, third-party developers can access the location of customers anytime they want. This is a huge problem. They shouldn’t have free reign over your location data and personally identifiable information. I believe it is time we hold third-party developers accountable, and I am determined to work with other members of Congress to get this done."

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The people that turned on GPS location on Twitter, post to places on Facebook and post the venues they are at on Foursquare better not be complaining about this stupid issue.

I bet steve jobs will address this issue in the next WWDC along with the white iphone 4 thickness issue and convince us somehow that its a good thing

Phil DeLong said,
I guess that's the very least they can do. The very, very least.

Yeah, because why would we want location based servives to work?

I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

Ambroos said,
I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

So. You wouldn't mind it if we put cameras in your bathroom and bedroom on 24/7 since you have nothing to hide.........

Foub said,
So. You wouldn't mind it if we put cameras in your bathroom and bedroom on 24/7 since you have nothing to hide.........

Geolocation is a far cry from watching somebody do their "business". (And ew by the way.)

Jen Smith said,

Geolocation is a far cry from watching somebody do their "business". (And ew by the way.)
No it is not. The analogy matches perfectly.

Jebadiah said,
No it is not. The analogy matches perfectly.

Hmm.. knowing where you are is exactly the same as visibly spying on you. Sorry, I don't see it. Don't think we're looking at the same definition of analogy. You know that since Neowin has your IP, they could chase down your location too... hrmm wonder if they watch you go to the bathroom too? If you have such an issue with a not-so-surprising capability of a cell phone, might want to look into getting rid of it.

Ambroos said,
I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

just because you have nothing to hide doesn't mean everyone want to be "track" I personally like my damn privacy even if I don't have nothing to hide. This tracking feature can be abuse by "big brother" and companies...

Ambroos said,
I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

just because you have nothing to hide doesn't mean everyone want to be "track" I personally like my damn privacy even if I don't have nothing to hide. This tracking feature can be abuse by "big brother" and companies...

Ambroos said,
I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

just because you have nothing to hide doesn't mean everyone want to be "track" I personally like my damn privacy even if I don't have nothing to hide. This tracking feature can be abuse by "big brother" and companies...

Ambroos said,
I really don't get all the fuss. As long as you're not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear at all. Actually, all the tracking can only help increase security for everyone.

just because you have nothing to hide doesn't mean everyone want to be "track" I personally like my damn privacy even if I don't have nothing to hide. This tracking feature can be abuse by "big brother" and companies...

Carriers are keeping not only users locations but SMS too. I have read transcripts of SMS brought before courts in trials.

People people, if you're going to go out and commit a crime - then leave all electronics at home.

Simple!

Fid said,
People people, if you're going to go out and commit a crime - then leave all electronics at home.

Simple!


you cannot, they can find out who's electronics hasn't move at all on that day and some more advanced pattern tracking... the bottom line is, u will always be part of the society.

People these days are so stupid. You'd have to be an idiot not to think that any phone wouldn't "track" you. At the bare minimum, cell tower triangulation has to happen, just to know how to move the signal from their tower(s) to your phone. Given some people use GPS on their phones, how do you think it works in the first place. You want a gas station, movie theater etc? It's going to have to know where you are at all times. Now, since it has that data, you'd have to be truly naive not to at least think the carrier, OS manufacturer, or hardware vendor wouldn't use at some point, all of that data. Personal privacy went out the window decades ago, and the people could care less, or they would use their brains and figure out they've been tracking you for years.

naap51stang said,
People these days are so stupid. You'd have to be an idiot not to think that any phone wouldn't "track" you. At the bare minimum, cell tower triangulation has to happen, just to know how to move the signal from their tower(s) to your phone. Given some people use GPS on their phones, how do you think it works in the first place. You want a gas station, movie theater etc? It's going to have to know where you are at all times. Now, since it has that data, you'd have to be truly naive not to at least think the carrier, OS manufacturer, or hardware vendor wouldn't use at some point, all of that data. Personal privacy went out the window decades ago, and the people could care less, or they would use their brains and figure out they've been tracking you for years.
Clearly you have no idea what the whole topic is and you went off of an idiotic rant to show us all you can't comprehend a simple topic. Let me spill it out for you - the topic is about storage of your location over several hundred days on your devices which can be publicly accessed by anyone. Got it? RTF NEWS!

The location is based on a triangle effect from the towers, listen to police scanners when they try to find someone that called 911 and hung up...it narrows it down pretty good but not exact. This isn't like in the movies at least not yet. This isn't a big issue IMO as far as Verizon is concerned...Apple now makes me wonder cause of just how sneaky they are with a screwed up phone and pad with broken features yet it does what it does on tracking.

I found it quite interesting looking at which areas I'd been to, and some of the cell towers were about 70 miles off.
Don't really care, as my network operator is tracking my location far more accurately, and is far more willing to hand the data to the authorities.

Even if you don't have a phone. Laptop, CCTV, SatNav ect. You will always be able to be tracked. The fact they companies store a rough idea of your location doesn't mean much.

Xerax said,
Even if you don't have a phone. Laptop, CCTV, SatNav ect. You will always be able to be tracked. The fact they companies store a rough idea of your location doesn't mean much.

Uhh .. again, it's not "a rough idea of your location" and they DO NOT NEED to store anything to provide services. Like the famous quote goes, "... Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me." Don't dig a grave for yourself.

Xerax said,
Even if you don't have a phone. Laptop, CCTV, SatNav ect. You will always be able to be tracked. The fact they companies store a rough idea of your location doesn't mean much.

Someone has obviously never heard of Tor...

allwynd said,
as if this would make any difference, now that everything is being tracked

I would have liked it much better if there was a $300-$400 fine per phone that they have sold to all the customers in the US so far, because they are all at fault. This is one of those instances in which the US govt. can cut loose and make this look like a crime to get hundreds of billions out of these stupid corporations to fix the economy a bit without making itself look bad in the eyes of the citizens. Other countries may do the same in their own jurisdiction. (I highly doubt that it is going to happen because the house and the senate are filled with lobbyists who have high stakes in Google, Apple, Verizon, AT&T, etc., but I can wish, can't I?)