- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

WHAT THEY DO: The nation’s four largest wireless carriers say they obtain customer permission before using a subscriber’s physical location to provide driving directions, family-finder applications and other location-based services, and before sharing a subscriber’s location with any outside mobile apps that provide such services.

WHAT THEY DON’T DO: But in letters to Congress, AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA also say they have no power to require independent developers of location-based apps to get similar user consent if these apps don’t rely on the carriers themselves to track a user’s whereabouts.

THE TIMING: The letters were released one day after Apple admitted that its popular iPhone stores data used to help the device locate itself for up to a year.

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