While Android and iPhone are facing heat and legal issues about how and why it’s tracking users, carriers have been tracking you for a long, long time. This is done for multiple legitimate reasons but Verizon is trying to get ahead of this issue and said it will soon be including a removable warning sticker about how it tracks your location.
In a letter to Congress, the carrier makes it clear that it can and does track users’ locations and why this is done. For instance, if you call 911 from your cell phone, you’ll be glad that Big Red is doing some form of location tracking. Additionally, it determines your location to gauge its networks for dropped calls, determine which is the correct tower to switch you off to and more.
It also offers services which definitely need to track your location like VZ Navigator and the family tracker program. Still, it knows that there is a lot of heat and political points to be gained by making this type of tracking explicit, so it will offer these removable stickers which say:
This device is capable of determining its (and your) physical, geographical location and can associate this location data with other customer information. To limit access to location information by others, refer to the User Guide for Location settings and be cautious when downloading, accessing or using applications and services.
I’m not quite sure where to land on this one, as I know Apple’s secret tracking can be scary but I don’t think it’s nefarious. Additionally, I love location-based services and believe these will be the next wave of amazing apps.
Still, no one likes to be tracked without knowing it and it’s up to the carriers, handset makers and app makers to clearly state why it is tracking users and what the benefits are. From there, users can make an informed decision.