FCC Fines US Wireless Carriers $200 Million for Careless Sale of Location Data.

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Date: Wednesday May 1, 2024 04:08:00 pm
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  • jim

    FCC Fines US Wireless Carriers $200 Million for Careless Sale of Location Data.
    This week’s enforcement action follows an investigation that launched almost six years ago. In a landmark enforcement action, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed hefty fines totaling nearly $200 million on the nation’s largest wireless carriers for the unauthorized sale of customer location data. This decisive move comes as the culmination of an extensive investigation that began almost six years ago, highlighting the FCC’s commitment to protecting consumer privacy.

    The investigation revealed that the carriers had been selling access to their customers’ sensitive location information without obtaining proper consent, a clear violation of federal regulations. The data was reportedly sold to various third-party “aggregators,” who then provided it to location-based service providers, often at a substantial profit.

    The FCC’s findings indicated a systemic failure by the carriers to safeguard customer data adequately. Despite being aware of the ineffectiveness of their privacy measures, the carriers continued to sell access to location information without implementing reasonable protections against unauthorized access.

    The fines break down as follows: Sprint and T-Mobile were fined $12 million and $80 million respectively, while AT&T faced a penalty of more than $57 million, and Verizon was fined $47 million. Although these fines represent a significant financial penalty, they amount to less than one percent of each carrier’s annual revenues, raising questions about the adequacy of such fines in deterring future violations.

    This enforcement action by the FCC sends a strong message to the telecommunications industry about the importance of consumer data protection. It also serves as a reminder to companies that the careless handling of customer data can lead to serious financial and reputational consequences.

    FCC hits top US carriers with nearly $200 million fine for sharing user location illegally - Neowin

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