Your Cell Carrier Is Tracking You, Hawking Your Data

Data collection by carriers like Verizon raises privacy concerns

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2013 11:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just when you thought you couldn't hate cell phone carriers more, they outdo themselves. Turns out, some phone companies are now tracking our locations, movements, and web-browsing habits, and selling the data to marketing companies and other businesses. They say they aren't selling information on individual users, but rather how and where groups of people use their phones. But the news still raises some big privacy concerns for many, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For instance, Verizon is tracking data for Clear Channel's billboard advertising company, measuring how likely someone who drives past a billboard is to then go to that store. It's also being selling data to the Phoenix Suns so the basketball team can increase advertising in areas it's not selling enough tickets. But the ACLU says a bigger fear than advertisers knowing where you're shopping is that carriers will start collecting more and more personal data that they don't actually require, and that information could then be subpoenaed by authorities. "It's the collection that's the scary part, not the business use," says an ACLU privacy specialist.

A manager of the Verizon store in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an Apple iPhone 4G.
A manager of the Verizon store in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an Apple iPhone 4G.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
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