Few Major Carriers in US facing Lawsuit over Selling Location Data of Users

A few of the major US carriers are facing a class action lawsuit over the allegations on selling their user’s location data to low-level law enforcement and bounty hunters. The major carriers that are named in the lawsuit are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, which is a result of an investigation from Motherboard, The New York Times, and office of Senator Ron Wyden. The case has been filed which seeks damages that are unspecified and will be determined at the trial.

The investigation report from Motherboard showed that AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile has allowed a network middlemen companies to access the user’s real-time location which was used to track who ever they wanted to from these networks. In 2018, New York Times has also provided a report which says that the four carriers have given data to Securus, which allowed low-level law enforcement to locate phones of citizens without a warrant.

According to the complaint, these carriers have failed to implement their own privacy policy by allowing these third-party companies access to the customers CPI (Confidential Proprietary Information) and CPNI (Confidential Proprietary Network Information). CPNI has included location data particularly allowing whoever it is to track an individual. According to Section 222 of the Federal Communications Act (FCA) selling access to the data is a violation and is the central focus of the class action suit.

On the other hand, Z Law, a consumer protection law firm has also filed the lawsuit and covers an approximated number of customers each of telcos has from April 30, 2015, to Feb 15, 2019. For Verizon, AT&T the numbers cover 100 million each while for T-Mobile and Sprint it is 50 million each. As of now, nothing is known what are the financial damages for each customer which should be decided when it reaches trial.

After the reports, AT&T and T-mobile said that they have stopped the selling of location data while Sprint has promised will be stoping it by the end of May this year. There has been no official word from these carriers regarding the lawsuit as of now. On which network are you on? Do you think even your location data was sold? Comment in the section below an stay tuned to Android Advices for more.


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