T-Mobile and the other major U.S. carriers have been involved in a few location data scandals recently, and now some details on another possible locaiton data issue has surfaced.
In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, T-Mobile revealed another instance of T-Mo customer location data misuse. Anthony Russo, T-Mobile’s VP of Federal Legislative Affairs, explains that in August 2014 a location aggregator called LocAid told T-Mobile that it was temporarily suspending a location-based services provider named Freedom Telecare due to a vulnerability in the customer consent mechanism. That vulnerability was eventually addressed and the service was re-enabled.
Russo goes into further detail, saying that there was a suspicion that a paying customer of Freedom Telecom had acquired location information without customer consent, but that “review of the evidence could not confirm improper disclosure of location data.”
Details on the vulnerability and data misuse are light. Neither Freedom Telecare nor LocationSmart, which acquired LocAid, have commented on the issue. However, Motherboard notes that Freedom Telecare partnered with LocAid on a service called Timesheet Mobile that allowed employers to track the location of their employees.
There’s been a lot of focus on the four major U.S. carriers, location data aggregators, and misuse of customer data lately. The location aggregator program allowed wireless customers to use location-based services like roadside assistance, but following some of these scandals, T-Mobile decided to end its contracts with location aggregators LocationSmart and Zumigo. On March 9th, T-Mobile’s location-based services contracts with location aggregators were officially ended.