FCC concludes some carriers broke the law by collecting users' real-time location
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote a letter (PDF) to Congress on Friday in which he confirmed that some carriers broke federal law by collecting users’ real-time location data.
Pai did not name specifically which carriers allegedly broke the law but only wrote that the FCC’s enforcement bureau “concluded that one or more wireless carriers apparently violated federal law.”
The FCC was asked to launch an investigation after a Motherboard report exposed how carriers including T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T had sold real-time location data of users. Such data could be obtained by complete strangers for a relatively small amount of money.
Pai’s letter all but confirms Motherboard’s findings. In response to the investigation, Pai said a “formal notice of liability” would be sent to his fellow commissioners for consideration.
Speaking to Reuters, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called it a “shame” the FCC took so long to carry out its investigation. “It’s chilling to consider what a black market could do with this data,” she added.
A security researcher in 2018 said that it was possible “data from a California-based tech firm” tracked the mobile users of numerous carriers without their consent. US Senator Rony Wyden told the FCC that same year that carriers were selling location data “to a shady prison phone company” that enabled prison guards to track citizens’ cell phones.
A trade group representing US carriers said that “upon hearing allegations of misuse of the data, carriers quickly investigated, suspended access to the data and subsequently terminated those programs.”
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo, Cyber Security & Cloud Expo and 5G Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.
- » Huawei gets a reprieve in the UK as government permits 5G gear
- » LG: Coro-no way we're attending MWC over coronavirus fears
- » 5G to take consumer market by storm in 2021, Omdia predicts
- » BT says the UK gov's decision to limit Huawei gear will cost it £500m
- » Unearthing strategic full fibre opportunities as 5G looms: A UK analysis