HomeDAS & In Building WirelessMajor carriers face fines for leaking subscriber location info

Major carriers face fines for leaking subscriber location info

Wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile faced a combined $200 million in fines for selling their customer’s location information, Mobile World Live reports. The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deemed the practice violated data privacy regulations.

T-Mobile received the biggest fine of $91 million. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint faced $57 million, $48 million and $12 million, respectively. The FCC said each carrier will have an opportunity to respond to the misconduct allegations before the figures are finalized, however. The fines follow the FCC Enforcement Bureau’s 2018 investigation from a report that third parties were able to access subscribers’ location data improperly.

“The FCC has long had clear rules on the books requiring all phone companies to protect their customers’ personal information,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a release. “And since 2007, these companies have been on notice that they must take reasonable precautions to safeguard this data and that the FCC will take strong enforcement action if they don’t. Today, we do just that.”

The officials found all four carriers had sold customer location information to data brokers. The brokers took the information and sold it to third-party companies that offered location-based services. The third-party companies are contractually obligated to get mobile customers’ permission before they accessed their location data, but the FCC said the carriers, “failed to implement safeguards to ensure they were actually doing so.”

The carrier’s fines were based on how long they continued to sell access to their customers’ information without safeguards and how many entities they sold the access to. T-Mobile said it would fight the FCC’s ruling, CNN reports.

“When we learned that our location aggregator program was being abused by bad actor third parties, we took quick action,” the carrier said in a statement “We were the first wireless provider to commit to ending the program and terminated it in February 2019. “While we strongly support the FCC’s commitment to consumer protection, we fully intend to dispute the conclusions of this [notice of apparent liability] and the associated fine.”

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