Phone Carriers Selling Customer Location Data

All you need to track any phone’s location is a small bribe

All you need to track any phone’s location is a small bribe

It would have further expanded the scope of the Federal Trade Commission's authority to pursue privacy violators; at present, it can't even penalise first-time corporate offenders. Wyden has found another supporter in the form of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"While some carriers have now recommitted to stopping such unauthorized disclosure, the public can no longer rely on their voluntary promises to protect this extremely sensitive information", Pallone said in a letter to the FCC.

CTIA guidelines and best practices agreed to by marketing associations and their members appear to be meaningless when nefarious practices such as those reported by Motherboard continue unencumbered. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about Vice's report. While the FCC's privacy rules were killed, mobile carriers are still subject to CPNI rules for voice calls, which were expanded in 2005 to include subscriber location information. Verizon said in a statement Thursday that it, too, was winding down its four remaining location-sharing agreements, which are all with roadside assistance services - after that, customers would have to give the company permission to share their data with roadside assistance firms. AT&T has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

'In light of recent reports about the misuse of location services, we have made a decision to eliminate all location aggregation services-even those with clear consumer benefits, ' an AT&T spokesman told PCMag.

Verizon, the only major US carrier not cited for the most recent problem, said it is working hard to implement commitments made last summer about location aggregation agreements. These companies then sold that data to other companies, and so on and so forth. "Upon investigating the alleged abuse and learning of the violation of our contract, we terminated the customer's access to our products and they will not be eligible for reinstatement based on this violation".

New reporting by Motherboard shows that while companies may have severed ties with LocationSmart, majority overlooked the other big player in the location-tracking business, Zumigo.

"We take the privacy and security of our customers' information very seriously and will not tolerate any misuse of our customers' data".

T-Mobile said in a statement to The Verge that it has "blocked access to device location data for any request submitted by Zumigo". "We have previously stated that we are terminating the agreements we have with third party data aggregators and we are almost finished with that process", the company wrote in a statement.

T-Mobile offered a similar promise, as we noted in an update to our story on Tuesday.

T-Mobile made a similar announcement yesterday, saying that it had already blocked location data requests from aggregator Zumigo (which was specifically mentioned in Motherboard's report) and that it was nearly done severing ties with other third-party data aggregators. He added that T-Mobile is trying to do it "the right way" to avoid affecting consumers who use these services for things like emergency assistance. Even if carriers sell the data to legitimate companies for beneficial reasons such as roadside assistance, it only takes a few degrees of separation (the roadside assistance company sells it to someone else, and so on) for the data to end up in the wrong hands.

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