All four major US carriers have promised to stop selling your location data after a company was caught providing unauthorized data to law enforcement

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  • The four major US cellular network carriers have pledged to stop selling customer location data to data brokers after a glitch was found in one of the broker's websites.
  • The glitch gave access to customers' real-time location data to anyone.
  • It was also alleged that law enforcement was using the data in a way that the carriers did not authorize.

All four of the major US carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have declared that they'll stop selling customer location data to certain data brokers on Tuesday after it was discovered that the data was being mishandled, according to Ars Technica.

The carriers' announcements come in response to an investigation by Senator Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.), as well as the beginnings of an FCC investigation.

Prison telecommunication firms Securus and 3Cinteractive were accused of mishandling location data they bought from data aggregator LocationSmart. LocationSmart brokers smartphone location data for "specific,
approved purposes, like roadside assistance, cargo tracking and elder safety," the company told Business Insider.

Securus and 3Cinteractive were only approved to provide smartphone location data for prisons to confirm that "call recipients were not within a certain distance of the prison from which the collect phone call was placed," Verizon said in a letter to Wyden. But Securus and 3Cinteractive also provided the data to law enforcement for investigative purposes, according to Verizon and AT&T's letter to Wyden. "Use of location information for investigative purposes was not an approved use case in our agreement with LocationSmart," Verizon added in its letter.

Here's how each company has responded to the issue:

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