Beware! Phone Companies May Be Selling Your Location Data

Beware! Phone Companies May Be Selling Your Location Data

As for the other US carriers, Sprint told that it has ended its contract with Zumigo and blocked Microbilt from accessing Sprint location data.

The investigation chronicled a journalist hiring a bounty hunter to track down their cell phone location using telecom data.

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceWireless! We asked Sprint for an update today and will update this article if we get a response.

"This is what happens when there are no financial penalties that are meaningful to the companies when they breach your data and destroy your privacy", said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. It is yet another example that highlights the importance of a specialized federal agency enforcement, and the need for a comprehensive privacy legislation. Ron Wyden of Oregon. "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".

Wyden authored a bill, the Consumer Data Protection Act, which would allow consumers to control the sale and sharing of their data and give the Federal Trade Commission authority to render stiffer penalties when companies are found to be out of compliance. The bill calls for fines up to 4% of a company's annual revenue on first offense and 10- to 20-year criminal penalties for senior executives. Stat." In a subsequent post in which she agreed with Harris and others calling for an investigation, Rosenworcel added: "It shouldn't be that you pay a few hundred dollars to a bounty hunter and then they can tell you in real time where a phone is within a few hundred meters.

In fact, a Motherboard investigation Tuesday revealed major mobile carriers were still selling location data to third parties, which then offers the data to a number of buyers, including bounty hunters.

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"Last year we stopped most location aggregation services while maintaining some that protect our customers, such as roadside assistance and fraud prevention", AT&T said in a statement to CNET. 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 chose to eliminate all location aggregation services - even those with clear consumer benefits". He claimed to have promised to end the whole thing in March, though we have been unable to find any reference to March 2019 back in June 2018.

Warner, the Senate's top Democrat on intelligence oversight, called on Congress to hold hearings over the teleco's practices, telling Motherboard that regulators ought to ensure that consumers are better informed about how their data is bought and sold. "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".

The calls come after reports from The New York Times and Vice that provided an alarming look at just how much location data is quietly collected through smartphones, and how that data can be accessed by third parties.

"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", a T-Mobile spokesperson told Ars this week.

After repeat questions on what that actually meant, a few days later T-Mobile US clarified that it was "winding down our location aggregation agreements".

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