Thursday, May 17, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

US Cell Carriers Are Selling Access to Real-time Phone Location Data

Zack Whittaker (via Hacker News):

Four of the largest cell giants in the US are selling your real-time location data to a company that you’ve probably never heard about before.

In case you missed it, a senator last week sent a letter demanding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigate why Securus, a prison technology company, can track any phone “within seconds” by using data obtained from the country’s largest cell giants, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, through an intermediary, LocationSmart.

Update (2018-05-18): Nick Heer:

While I was writing it, I couldn’t help but think that there isn’t much worse it could get, right? Well, what about if a similar location tracking application had no security — at all?

Update (2019-01-11): Nick Heer:

Two days after Joseph Cox reported that the real-time location of virtually every phone in the United States could be bought with few restrictions, Hamza Shaban and Brian Fung are reporting for the Washington Post that three providers have said that they would stop selling customers’ location data to third parties[…]

John Gruber:

The carriers’ defense is basically that they only intended to sell this data to the “right” people, and the fact that these middlemen are reselling it to the “wrong” people is against their “terms”. […] Honestly, for me and my family, our location data is more private than the content of our calls.

2 Comments

Didn’t take long for this to get even worse: That real-time location data has been accessible to anyone for any given number, without the targeted party’s consent: https://www.zdnet.com/article/cell-phone-tracking-firm-exposed-millions-of-americans-real-time-locations/

Kind of makes platform choice seem irrelevant. There's always data leakage....

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