Verizon to Alert Customers of Location Tracking With Stickers
In an “honesty is the best policy” sort-of compliance move, Verizon Wireless has plans to include stickers alerting customers of devices that constantly track a user’s location. As has been recently discovered then officially revealed by Apple, the iPhone would be included in the collection of devices since it does keep a record of its location.
All of the four major phone carriers are being questioned about location tracking. Last March, a group of politicians had requested information on location data, the tracking method, and its purpose. Verizon responded two weeks ago in a letter sent to the politicians, outlining their desired specifications and Verizon’s contrivance to improve the situation. One of the things that’s noted is how the carrier saves tracking data for seven years, but specifics such as how often it is saved for iPhone users in particular are not mentioned.
According to the letter, Verizon’s remedy involves placing removable stickers on phones with a location-tracking capability from this point forward. The article’s image includes the almost-too-lengthy text that will catch buyers’ attention when they unbox a new phone that is “capable of determining its (and your) physical, geographical location.”
In a recent press release, Apple explains how data is sent anonymously in order to improve its database of hotspots and cell towers. If that is all the background tracking is used for, then this isn’t bad as long as battery life and resources aren’t wasted; this improves the quality and consistency of the built-in location services for iOS users. Due to Apple’s disregard of stickers and labels, the company would probably ask Verizon to make an exception for the iPhone anyway. I could only see Apple agreeing to have anything of the sort placed on its device if the warning is required by law. After all, the company maintains a strict, nonconforming control over its products and services.
In a matter of weeks, an iOS update will be released that increases users’ privacy. Until then… there is nothing to worry about.