Cell Phone Tracking
Motherboard previously found the telecom companies sold phone location data to bounty hunters and other third-parties.
“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.
Hundreds of Bounty Hunters Had Access to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint Customer Location Data for Years
Documents show that bail bond companies used a secret phone tracking service to make tens of thousands of location requests.
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.
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.
Senators Call on FCC To Investigate T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint Selling Location Data to Bounty Hunters
After Motherboard’s article, Senators Kamala Harris, Mark Warner, and Ron Wyden are coming out against telcos who are selling their customers' location data.
Surveillance takes on different character when it trickles down to more ordinary, everyday users. The significance and threat from IMSI-catchers is multiplied when a lot more people can deploy one using cheap tech from Amazon and free code from Github.
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.
Verizon and other telcos have been selling phone location data to companies catering to marketers and low level law enforcement. Now, Verizon says it is cutting ties with certain firms that abused that data access.