Cellphone Companies Defend Privacy Practices

U.S. lawmakers called for closer scrutiny of developers that make software for mobile phones, after wireless carriers highlighted them as a weak spot in keeping smartphone users’ locations private.

The concerns were expressed in a letter released Thursday by Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass) after the lawmakers asked the four main U.S. wireless carriers to explain their policies for collecting and storing location data.

The carriers–AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA–said they seek subscribers’ consent before tracking their location, but said they can’t control how applications developed by third parties use location information that the carriers don’t provide.

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