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Verizon to put sticker on all new phones to warn about location tracking

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Verizon to put sticker on all new phones to warn about location tracking
In response to a letter sent to Verizon and three other carriers by Representatives Ed Markey and Joe Barton, Verizon has announced that it will be putting a removable warning sticker on all of its new phones. The sticker warns that the phone that it is affixed to can track the users location and can take that information and "associate it" with other location based customer data. In other words, Verizon is warning you that the phone in your hand can take location based data, add to it bits and pieces of other data, and roughly figure out things about you-possibly even your identity.

The sticker's appearance is timely considering that in the past few days there has been finger-pointing between Apple, Google and customers of both companies questioning just what location data is being stored on the iPhone and Android handsets, and whether or not this info is transmitted and used to locate and/or identify users by demographic or perhaps by something more precise. However, considering that the lawmakers first wrote the carriers back on March 29th, the Apple/Android location data battle has nothing to do with the appearance of the sticker.

While other carriers have not taken the steps that Verizon has, they do repeat what Big Red has been saying which is that personal data is stored until it is no longer needed and that customer information is not sold or rented out and customers must consent before location data is acquired. And at least one of the Representatives who started all this with his letter is not placated by Verizon's efforts. Rep. Markey says he still has a "feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty,"  and says that third party developers also must be held "accountable."

source: Engadget

Verizon will put this removable sticker on all new phones that it sells

Verizon will put this removable sticker on all new phones that it sells

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posted on 29 Apr 2011, 15:14 5

1. Jaroniemo (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Apr 2011)

It's nice to see someone taking the initiative on this issue instead of just pointing fingers at other companies such as Apple did to Google after they were spotted jotting your location. I'm with Sprint but I have to give Big Red a kudos on this one.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 16:04 4

2. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

Ugh...Verizon is really starting to sway me. I never liked them as a company in the past and I still think TelCos are evil...but whether it's for image or actual caring for their customers, I think a lot of their moves over the past two years have been stellar. This isn't a big deal, but it at least lets folks know...

The only problem though is where it's placed. If it's on the screen then it's pretty much useless unless you order your phone online. When Apple had the antenna problem, people went nuts, but for the past four years, I'd been peeling off the sticker that gives instructions on how to hold the phone so not to lose reception. The customer doesn't find out about it because reps remove the sticker and discard of it to activate the phone. Still...a nice step.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 16:50 1

3. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

now I wonder when will the madness about location services end...

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:10 2

4. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

*rolls eyes* leave it to politicians to act morally concerned for the people they extort and lie to.

Companies should take responsibility for the safety and quality of their products, but that is none of politicians' concern. They should stick to voting themselves another pay raise.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:11 4

5. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

You know what this reminds me of? The stupid lady who sued Mcdonald's when she spilled coffee on her you know what. She got millions off of it and after that Mcdonald's has put "CAUTION HOT!!" all over their cups.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:11 1

6. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Another worm from the opened can.

This is too silly. Carriers and phonemakers put effort in improving services, while users try so hard to pick on them. All because fandroids are trying to pull Apple down by putting gas to a small fire, not realizing that it will backfire to EVERYONE.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:45 3

9. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Don't forget that Apple users freaked out enough on their own to file the first lawsuit. Outlets like CNN, who are notoriously Apple friendly, have been following up on the story. We may be "fanning the flames" in the comment sections, but it's been the major news outlets and lesser ifanboys who have been running all the stories and filing the lawsuits. We've just been saying that it should be FIXED.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 19:07

15. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

I agree with Sniggly, its nice to see at least one person who doesn't have an Apple up their asses.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 20:12

18. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

I wouldn't quite say it's the fanboys that are suing Apple. The iPhone is an "anyone can use" device. So folks suing are very normal and probably not techie folks. This isn't quite the Apple backlash you describe. But I get your point...

posted on 30 Apr 2011, 01:05

27. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

I was just using the term "iFanboy" to denote that it's Apple users who are suing and freaking out the most. I didn't mean to say that people like Gemini were suing, necessarily. :)

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:50 3

10. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Btw, you've permanently lost the victim argument. Nobody here was really bashing Apple, but you made a false, unprovoked and unjustified swing at us. Go ahead, come up with a bullshit reason why I'm wrong.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:18 1

7. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

What next? Phonemakers submitting their OS algorithms to all users for users' consent on how they do software programming? They never told us what's going on behind each command or task that a smartphone does. So now maybe, as a new law, before users can buy a device, they need to provide classes to each user, and users should pass that class, or else, that user will not be given that device.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 18:27 1

12. TheFunnyMan (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)

Yeah, there is a significant difference between location tracking, which is currently against federal law without a warrant (of course, there are always exceptions there), and suddenly every customer that Android and Apple has wanting to see all the coding for the OS itself. Most customers don't even know what "coding" is, and really don't care.

Most people, however, really don't like to be followed. And, if you think about it, that is pretty much what is going on here with the location tracking services.

Please, before you post anything else on this site, think about it. Sniggly and I are really getting tired of having to educate you.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 21:57

21. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Oh please. Like you and sniggly didn't see what's coming with google, thinking that google will not be affected by this. Educate yourself first. Better yet, get some common sense first :)

posted on 30 Apr 2011, 00:48

26. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Yeah, I had a feeling that Google would be sued, but I'm principled enough that I don't care whether Google gets sued or not, because the original lawsuit was STILL a stupid idea.

You still seem to be arguing that all of us Android/Google supporters wanted Apple to be sued, when that is BLATANTLY NOT TRUE.

There were exactly TWO pro Android users who said or implied that they thought Apple should be sued.

Three commented that they thought it was funny Apple was being sued, but didn't necessarily approve of it.

Four gave no particular opinion on the lawsuit itself, and merely commented on the matter of the location tracking itself.

Six (including myself) said that the lawsuit was going nowhere and/or should not have been filed in the first place. But I also commented on the hilarity of sue happy Apple getting sued by its own customers.

So if we're going by percentages, you're looking at less than 20 percent of pro Android comments cheering the lawsuit on. We all want Apple to FIX the problem, and do it without the necessity of a lawsuit. And that's what most of us have been saying from the beginning. I figured there would be a lawsuit (This IS America) but I was hoping that there wouldn't be unless no other avenue would make Apple change the utility to what it needed to be.

So let me make my position clear, in caps lock to boot:


And if anyone agrees with my sentiment, Android fan or otherwise, comment "agreed." I'll show you exactly how much we're "fanning the flames," Gemini. It's probably because of feedback like ours that Apple's even fixing the damn problem. Because we sure as hell aren't the ones suing Apple right now.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:22

8. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Or maybe every time a user makes a phone call, video call, send an sms, and send an email, an agreement needs to be signed for users' consent that there's a possibility that these form of communications are subject to tracking for billing purposes. After all, our valuable privacy is at risk here.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 17:51 3

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

And you said I'm hysterical.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 22:01

23. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Lol. Just annoyed by all of these unnecessary troubles that phonemakers and carriers would now have to go through just because a small issue was blown out of proportions. It's really silly.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 18:46

14. MorePhonesThanNeeded (unregistered)

Dude really? Imagine if you did that for every text, phone call, mms, emails, would you use your phone?

This thing Verizon is doing is for the idiots who sue first and ask questions later, Verizon is adequately informing you about what your phone is doing. Although you can disable your GPS and turn off background data and only use your phone for phone calls. Cellphones are the new advertising avenue of the millennium, not sure what personal details your store on your phone but I don't store crap on mine. Just music, steal my phone and that's all you'll find on it. Personal details while on public record at your local town hall, is still locked in my wallet. :)

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 18:38

13. SPcamert (Posts: 56; Member since: 06 Feb 2010)

If rep Markey feels "uneasy" about his phone being able to track him he should just not buy a cell phone. The lack of privacy is the price we pay for having access to such advanced technologies. A cell phone is meant to find you so you can take a call anyway. There's no way to stop that capability. It'd be like trying to hide an earthquake from the seismic stations across the US. It's impossible because you only need three points to figure it out.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 19:32

16. Rawrzellers (Posts: 224; Member since: 22 Aug 2010)

I live on an island in Washington... the only ad they could target at me is ads for anti depressants and free transit money.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 20:08

17. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)

is there any way to disable this? this really couldnt be more in direct violation of privacy.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 21:43

20. Answer (unregistered)

Yes Mr, Droid, go to location and uncheck the 3 boxes for location. If you open an app or try to navigate it will as you permission to locate you. If you feel unsecure or paranoid at this point select "no". Your services will not work as intended, but you are safe and the boogie man can't find you.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 22:03

24. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Just downloaded Terra web browser app on my ipad, and it's blazing fast. Best of all, it's free. I wouldn't mind paying for it though. It's awesome.

posted on 29 Apr 2011, 22:58

25. frudafist (unregistered)

Gemini must have been hired by Apple to turn us all into Human Centipads.

posted on 01 May 2011, 12:38

28. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

if ur phone comes with GPS of coarse it going to track you. its common sense, but my question is (since i really scan rather than read this article), can the tracking tool be turned off, with no catches?

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