Major Mobile Carriers Fined $200M Over Illegal Location-Sharing

( – The Federal Communications Commission issued fines to the largest United States wireless phone carriers of nearly two hundred million dollars. The fine is based on the allegations that these mobile carriers illegally shared access to customer’s location information.

T-Mobile is being fined eighty million dollars, which is the most out of all the phone carriers. Sprint has the lowest fine amount which is twelve million. According to FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel, “the carriers real-time location information to data aggregators, allowing this highly sensitive data to wind up in the hands of bail-bond companies, bounty hunters, and other shady actors.”

These carriers have allowed location services for programs like roadside assistance, logistics, medical emergencies, and human trafficking alerts.

“Smartphones are always with us, and as a result, these devices know where we are at any given moment,” Rosenworcel said. “In the wrong hands, it can provide those who wish to do us harm the ability to locate us with pinpoint accuracy.“

T-Mobile spoke out against the fine by saying “The FCC decision is wrong, and the fine is excessive. We intend to challenge it.” Verizon spoke out as well saying that they have worked to protect customers, so much so that they’ve prevented a fraudster from gaining access to customer data in a prior situation.

AT&T seems to want to challenge the allegations as well. They that the order ic lacking “both legal and factual merit. It unfairly holds us responsible for another company’s violation of our contractual requirements to obtain consent, ignores the immediate steps we took to address that company’s failures, and perversely punishes us for supporting life-saving location services.”

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