Phone carriers violate privacy law, claims groups

A complaint has been made by public interest groups following allegations that major phone carriers are sharing their customers’ location data without consent.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received a complaint against Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile

The complaint wrote:

“The Carriers have disclosed customer location information to location aggregators, other location-based services companies, and unauthorized individuals without customer approval. That location information has in some circumstances found its way into the hands of bounty hunters and stalkers.

“In most cases, Carriers have not attempted to notify their customers of this information sharing, let alone to obtain consent.”

Earlier in May 2019, the four wireless providers had notified the US FCC that they had stopped sharing customers’ location data with third parties, however the complaint says otherwise.

All four providers have yet to comment about the complaint, and the FCC have been pressed to investigate the industry’s practices by lawmakers. To which the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has told Congress that the agency is investigating the violations.

Eric Null, a senior counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute said in a statement:

“The wireless carriers have been engaging in serious violations of their customers’ privacy. But the law is clear on this issue: wireless carriers need consent from their customers before they can disclose customer location data to third parties.

“The carriers’ practices have been public for over a year now, and the FCC has been asleep at the wheel. The wireless carriers have violated the law, it’s time to hold them accountable.”


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