AT&T will sever ties with location aggregators as well

12 Janvier, 2019, 04:58 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A person's hand holding a smartphone that is displaying a map

All four major USA carriers vowed to stop selling customer location data to third-parties last June in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Mobile carriers collect your phone location data and often use it for legitimate services, like roadside assistance and finding lost devices. All that's required is some cash and the right contacts in a web of companies with access to the geolocation data collected by mobile phone companies.

The scandal has resulted in new promises from carriers.

Last year, news broke that your cellphone service provider is probably selling access to your real-time location. "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.

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

This call revealed that even after the phone companies in the USA promised that they would stop selling it, they continued to do same.

No word from T-Mobile or the other major carriers about why it's taking about nine months to end the practice. "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.

Sprint said earlier this week that it is "investigating this matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further until that process is complete".

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Verizon was the only one of the four major carriers that wasn't flagged by Motherboard's investigation.

"As you're most likely aware, Verizon is not among the companies cited in recent media accounts regarding issues with location tracking", Verizon said. "T-Mobile is completely ending location aggregator work". "We have followed through on our commitment to terminate aggregation arrangements and provide location information only with the express consent of our customers", the company wrote in a statement.

Addressing the issue head on, a Sprint spokesperson told The Verge that they company will no longer "knowingly share personally identifiable geo-location information" but for requests from legal authorities.

Back then, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) discovered that a company called Securus Technologies was selling people's location data to the cops, and insisted that America's telecoms watchdog the FCC investigate. "Over the past few months, as we committed to do, we have been shutting down everything else", AT&T said in a statement. "The FCC needs to investigate".

The commission's senior Democrat, Jessica Rosenworcel, concurs.

Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox wrote, "I gave a bounty hunter a phone number. It's time for the FCC to get its act together".

Following the revelation this month that nothing has changed, Senator Wyden has again called for an FCC investigation, and again argued for a privacy law that would protect U.S. citizens from having their personal data sold without their permission. As a result of the ongoing partial shutdown of the US federal government, the FTC was unable to provide a statement.

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