Following some security and prvacy issues related to U.S. carriers selling customer location data to third-parties, an FCC commissioner has reached out to the operators for more info on the situation.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon for details on their efforts to end their agreements with location aggregators as well as what their previous agreements with these companies allowed. As noted by Motherboard, Commissioner Rosenworcel sent the letters to the CEOs of all four carriers and asked that they respond by May 15th.
T-Mobile has been involved a few location data scandals recently, including one in which a bounty hunter was paid $300 and was able to get a screenshot of the Google Maps location of a T-Mo customer’s phone, including its approximate latitude and longitude. T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded to the location data misuse by pledging to end T-Mo’s agreements with location aggregators this past March.
In her letter to Legere, Commissioner Rosenworcel asks for an update on T-Mobile’s effort to end its location aggregator agreements, including the date that they were ended and whether T-Mo ended agreements to sell assisted or augmented GPS data.
The letter goes on to ask T-Mobile’s CEO if the agreements with aggregators allowed them to store location data and if so, what steps T-Mobile has taken to ensure that that data has been deleted. “Alternatively, please explain what steps T-Mobile is taking to safeguard such data from use or onward sale that is inconsistent with consumers’ original consent,” Commissioner Rosenworcel writes.
The location data scandals were unsettling because they showed how easy it was for some people to access a consumer’s location without their consent. The U.S. carriers faced pressure to end their aggrements with location aggregators, and now all four say that they have indeed terminated those deals. Now John Legere and the other three CEOs of the major U.S. carriers have two weeks to share more info on their efforts with Commissioner Rosenworcel.
You can read the letters sent to all four CEOs of the big U.S. carriers right here.