Earlier this week the EFF and a law firm filed a class action lawsuit against AT&T and two data brokers. Now one of those data companies says it'll fight the lawsuit.
In 2017, two bounty hunters and a fugitive died in a chaotic shoot-out. Shortly after their deaths, someone started tracking one of the bounty hunter's phones.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.