Commissioner Rosenworcel Releases Responses to Call for an Update on the Sale of Real-Time Location Data

Earlier in May, Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel sent letters to major phone companies asking for an update on their progress toward halting the sale of customers’ real-time location information. A series of press reports over the past year revealed that geolocation data collected by phone companies was being made available to hundreds of bounty hunters across the country. However, the FCC so far has not provided the public with any details, despite the ongoing risk to the safety and security of American consumers. Nor has it taken any public action to ensure that this activity has stopped.

On May 16, Commissioner Rosenworcel is made public the responses she received. “The FCC has been totally silent about press reports that for a few hundred dollars shady middlemen can sell your location within a few hundred meters based on your wireless phone data. That’s unacceptable. I don’t recall consenting to this surveillance when I signed up for wireless service—and I bet neither do you. This is an issue that affects the privacy and security of every American with a wireless phone. It is chilling to think what a black market for this data could mean in the hands of criminals, stalkers, and those who wish to do us harm. I will continue to press this agency to make public what it knows about what happened. But I do not believe consumers should be kept in the dark. That is why I am making these letters available today.”

All four major wireless carriers told Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel that they have ended the practice.

Cmr Rosenworcel Releases Responses Re Sale of Real-Time Location Data Read the Responses Phone carriers tell feds they have mostly stopped sharing location data (The Hill)