AT&T and other telecommunications companies say they plan to stop selling sensitive customer data to third parties.
The decision announced on Thursday night comes days after a survey from the motherboard, how easy it can be to access location data for AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint customers. The report, which crowned a journalist who hired a bounty hunter to track their cell phone location using telecom data, led to more lawmakers requiring a study of data sharing practices. In addition to online privacy attorneys at Congress, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted that the organization "should investigate. State."
This is not the first time that AT&T has been the focus of its data sales, which critics were worried about by stalkers or child runners to track people based on their cell phone location. Last year, a study by US Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that a correction facility was able to track Americans through a third party known as Securus for "unlimited access" to customer placement. The FCC initiated a study 1
An AT & T spokesman confirmed the news via email and added that the company "immediately removes the remaining services and will be in March."
"Last year, we stopped most of the placement contracts, while maintaining some protecting our customers, such as road assistance and fraud prevention," the spokesman said in a statement. "In light of recent reports on misuse of placement services, we have decided to eliminate all aggregation services on site – even those with clear consumer benefits."
After the motherboard report was published, Wyden described the details as "disruptive" in a tweet and adds that practice is "a nightmare for national security and personal security for everyone with a phone."
Wyden also pointed out how several telecommunications companies had told him last year that they would end their data exchange practices. "I keep my word," t-mobile CEO john legerer tweeted in response.
"t-mobile is completely ending place aggregator work," legends wrote. "We do it the right way to avoid influencing consumers who use these types of services for things like relief. It will end in March as planned and promised."
The revelations come at the beginning of a new congress likely to address the online privacy issues that continue to plague social media platforms and their users. Last year, Facebook came on fire repeatedly to get the now-defined data company Cambridge Analytica to access user data. The increased privacy concerns led several legislators to introduce legislation to limit what businesses can collect about consumers, while California adopted its own nationwide law, which comes into force in 2020.
Federal-level legislation could be imposed on federal level later this month. It is also possible that Congress may invite telecom managers to testify to their data practices – just like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did in 2018. But as Congress continues to address the ongoing government decommissioning, it is unclear whether lawmakers will be able to get enough attention or traction to handle privacy to the extent some legislators want.