Over a year and a half ago, each of the four major US carriers was in some way involved with an incident that revealed how carriers were selling location data of its subscribers to whoever wanted to pay for them. It involved a couple of “middle men” companies who could eventually sell location data to whoever wanted to buy it. It eventually involved Securus, a prison company that used carrier information to track phones without owners’ permission.
On Friday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter to key members of Congress, declaring that the FCC has conducted its investigation and concluded that either one or multiple US carriers have broken federal law by this practice.
[…] regarding the status of the FCC’s investigation into the disclosure of consumers’ real-time location data[…] I wish to inform you that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has completed its extensive investigation and that it has concluded that one or more wireless carriers apparently violated federal law.
Although carriers supposedly committed to stopping these practices much after the initial incident, the FCC will reveal its findings with these members of Congress with the evidence of these shady practices.
Offending carriers could face heavy fines as punishment. One recipient of the letter, Representative Frank Pallone from New Jersey ensures to the public in a statement that he’ll “be watching to make sure the FCC doesn’t just let these lawbreakers off the hook with a slap on the wrist.”