T-Mobile, AT&T, and other telcos may need to be more careful this time in protecting the privacy of the consumers. Some US senators and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will go after companies and groups that may be selling location information of the Americans. This isn’t exactly a new thing but the government getting more serious is a great reminder for everyone. After a report that these carriers are selling people’s location data to bounty hunters was published, senators called on an investigation.
FCC has been tasked to investigate the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen on a wider scale. According to Motherboard, these US telcos have been selling customer location data to a market that eventually goes to bounty hunters. An investigation was done where Motherboard actually purchased the real-time location of a device for $300. That’s not exactly a lot of money for anyone who wants information about someone.
To make the long story short, the Senate and the FCC are encouraging investigation and regulation with the main goal of making sure the customers know what’s been happening. The people should know if their data are being sold but of course, it’s best if they’re not sold at all.
In a statement to Motherboard, here’s what Senator Kamala Harris had to say:
“The American people have an absolute right to the privacy of their data, which is why I’m extraordinarily troubled by reports of this system of repackaging and reselling location data to unregulated third-party services for potentially nefarious purposes. If true, this practice represents a legitimate threat to our personal and national security.”
As an initial responsible, T-Mobile said they will end such service starting March. AT&T will also eliminate the same services in the same month. As for Verizon, the carrier hasn’t given any response yet.