After Motherboard’s investigation led to telcos stopping their sale of phone location data, apparent scammers are exploiting a void in the private investigator industry.
“It is now abundantly clear that you have failed to be good stewards of your customers’ private location information,” Senator Wyden wrote in a letter addressed to AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.
Stalkers and Debt Collectors Impersonate Cops to Trick Big Telecom Into Giving Them Cell Phone Location Data
In several cases, a stalker impersonated a US Marshal and reported a fake kidnapping in order to get telecom companies to give them real-time cell phone location data.
A Motherboard investigation has found that around 250 bounty hunters and related businesses had access to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customer location data.
15 Senators Call on FCC and FTC to Investigate How AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint Sold Phone Locations to Bounty Hunters
After Motherboard’s article, a large group of senators wants two government departments to fully investigate the business dealings of telcos and their data sharing arrangements.
Zumigo, which sold the location data of American cell phone users, wanted the FCC to remove requirements around user consent.
We discuss the behind-the-scenes process of how we learned AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint were ultimately selling users’ location data to bounty hunters, and Senator Ron Wyden explains what he plans to do next.
The Senator expressed “disappointment” and “disbelief” at CEO John Legere’s unfulfilled promise to end the sale of geolocation data to “shady middlemen.”
After AT&T and T-Mobile said they would stop selling their customers’ phone location data to third parties, Sprint followed suit. A Motherboard investigation found all three telcos selling data that ultimately ended up in the hands of bounty hunters.
Google’s phone, text, and data service relies on infrastructure provided by T-Mobile and Sprint. A Motherboard investigation found both telcos selling customers’ location data that ultimately ended up in the hands of bounty hunters.
After Motherboard found that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are selling their customers' phone location data ultimately to bounty hunters, AT&T has decided to stop service for all location aggregators, an essential part of the data supply chain.
Low-level enforcement were able to monitor phones nationwide with minimal legal oversight. But the predatory bail bonds industry provided a similar, and cheap, service to bounty hunters to track down individuals.