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FCC Says One or More Wireless Carriers Violated Federal Law by Sharing Consumer Location Data

FCC Says One or More Wireless Carriers Violated Federal Law by Sharing Consumer Location Data

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed today that one or more wireless carriers violated federal law by sharing real-time consumer location information with third-party data services. The revelation came in letters [PDF] sent by Pai to Congress as part of a wireless location investigation.

Bloomberg reports Pai’s letter comes after the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce in November accused the FCC of “failing in its duty to enforce the laws Congress passed to protect consumers’ privacy.”

Major wireless carriersĀ reportedly sold subscriber geolocation data to third-party companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo. Those companies then passed it along to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and more.

While the FCC’s letter confirms that one or more wireless carriers violated the law by sharing location data with third-parties, it does not specify which carriers have done so. All of the big-four carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile) have been questioned about their data selling and sharing practices in the past.

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