Privacy activists warn that cell phone carriers’ “pinky swear” to stop selling users’ location data doesn’t go far enough

Posted January 11, 2019, 4:58 PM

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 11, 2010
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Fight for the Future demands a federal investigation into carriers’ reckless misuse of user data and call on Congress to pass strong data protection legislation.

A disturbing report published earlier this week revealed that cell phone providers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were selling access to customers’ location data. Since then, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon voluntarily announced they will end relationships with third party “location aggregators” in statements to the press. Sprint has so far failed to make a similar commitment.

Responding to this week’s news Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her) had this to say:

“The idea that a cell phone company is selling users’ location data with absolutely no way to opt-out is terrifying. Think about what a stalker, an employer, or a jealous ex could do with access to this kind of information. It’s great that the carriers are promising not to sell access to their users’ location data anymore, but we need more than pinky-swears; T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a promise just like this in June and was just caught breaking it. We’re glad to see that certain senators are speaking up about this but, given how much money Congress has taken from the telecom companies, we know they will only take action if we make them. We need a full-fledged federal investigation into what they’ve been up to and who they’ve put at risk. Congress needs to investigate what happened and make this practice illegal as soon as possible.”

Earlier this week, Fight for the Future launched an online petition demanding a federal investigation into this shady business practice, and is now calling on Congress to ban the sale of sensitive, personal information via strong data protection legislation.

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