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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