To the Federal Communications Commission:

We’re calling on you to investigate the practice of wireless providers selling customer-location data to third parties. This is an abuse of privacy laws, and a violation of Section 222 of the Communications Act, and the FCC has a legal obligation to stop it.

A report by Motherboard has revealed that major U.S. cellular carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have been selling their customers’ location information, letting it fall into the hands of bounty hunters.

This is unacceptable and we demand that you protect our privacy.

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    Think your location data is private? Think again.

    Wireless Providers are Hell-bent on Violating Our Privacy

    Did you know that for $300 a bounty hunter (or anyone else) could figure out your location using data your wireless provider sold to them?

    That’s right. Major U.S. cellular carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have been selling their customers’ location information and letting it fall into the hands of actual bounty hunters according to reporting from Vice’s Motherboard.1

    But how is this even possible and doesn’t it violate some privacy law or something?

    Buried in many wireless carriers’ customer-privacy policies is a provision that allows them to sell access to their customers’ location information. These providers then sell that information to data brokers, advertising networks, banks and other (supposedly) “reputable” companies.

    Companies like AT&T claim that sharing their customers’ location information helps with “important, potential lifesaving services” and that less-than-savory uses, like selling that information to bounty hunters, would “violate our contract and Privacy Policy.”2 Yet these privacy scandals keep happening and all these companies offer are empty promises that they’ll assess their practices and change them (maybe).

    Enough is enough. We need the FCC to step in and use its legal authority to protect our data from wireless carriers hell-bent on violating our privacy. Tell the FCC to do its job and finally put an end to these abuses.


    1. “I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone,” Motherboard, Jan. 8, 2019: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/nepxbz/i-gave-a-bounty-hunter-300-dollars-located-phone-microbilt-zumigo-tmobile

    2. “Largest Cellphone Carriers to Limit Sales of Location Data,” The New York Times, June 19, 2018: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/technology/verizon-att-cellphone-tracking.html