AT&T to stop sharing customers' location data on to third parties

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

U.S. cell carriers are probably still selling your real-time phone location data

It was just previous year when Senator Ron Wyden wrote to the Federal Communications Commission about Securus, a firm that that was offering geolocation of phones to low-level law enforcement without a warrant, thereby jeopardizing cell phone locations of not only inmates, but anyone with a phone number - which is pretty much everyone. An AT&T spokesperson said it no longer supports location aggregation services.

'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, ' an AT&T spokesman told PCMag. These carriers, and Verizon, sell this data to firms called location aggregators, who then turn around and sell it to other companies.

Past year we stopped most location aggregation services while maintaining some that protect our customers, such as roadside assistance and fraud prevention.

The FCC didn't respond to a request for comment. The report naturally caused concern amongst lawmakers and privacy advocates. "It will end in March, as planned and promised". Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. "Congress needs to pass strong legislation to protect Americans' privacy and finally hold corporations accountable when they put your safety at risk by letting stalkers and criminals track your phone on the dark web". US Senator Kamala Harris and Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel have also called on US regulators to investigate the data sharing. "If true, this practice represents a legitimate threat to our personal and national security".

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The phone number, in this case, belonged to T-Mobile, but a larger investigation found cell phone companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have all been selling consumer location data, which eventually trickles down to the hands of those not eligible to have access to such information. "The FCC needs to investigate". But a recent investigation showed they kept going. They also need to educate users on their rights when it comes to data. The bottom line is that the Ajit Pai FCC could easily address this problem using the authority it has now, they've just chosen not to because it might just hurt telecom revenues.

And T-Mobile US's Legere told Senator Wyden to his face that he would end the practice of selling location data through third parties. The partnerships can power services such as bank fraud prevention and emergency roadside assistance in addition to online ads and marketing deals, which depend on knowing your whereabouts. The bounty hunter received the triangulated cellphone tower data through his bail-bond company, which was able to buy it from a third-party vendor for as little as $12.95 per number. He sees the new report as another urgent motivation for government action, including an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. "We don't tolerate violations of privacy and data security protections for our customer data".

"The intended use of MicroBilt's location services is to verify individuals, with their consent, who are submitting applications for financial services products".

To overcome public scrutiny and the potential deterioration of consumer trust, USA carriers should proactively ensure consumer data is used properly and educate consumers.The current system for validating that a broker is properly using consumer location data is clearly flawed. "Over the past few months, as we committed to do, we have been shutting down everything else".

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