Sunday , March 7 2021

FCC issues wrist-slap fines to carriers that sold your phone-location data, Ars Technica

      Getting off easy –


Pai’s FCC fines carriers “less than one one-thousandth” of annual revenue.



Getty Images | Nakhorn Yuangkratoke / EyeEm

These are “proposed” fines, meaning the carriers can dispute them and try to get them reduced or eliminated. The proposed fines are $ million for T-Mobile, $ million for AT&T, $ 91 million for Verizon, and $ 18 million for Sprint. That’s a total of $ million.

The FCC announcement said the carriers’ punishments are for ‘apparently selling access to their customers’ location information without taking reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to that information. ” The FCC said it also “admonished these carriers for apparently disclosing their customers’ location information, without their authorization, to a third party.”

Pai said that the FCC has taken “strong enforcement action” with today’s proposed fines. But the two Democrats on the Republican-majority commission said the fines are too low and criticized the Pai-led FCC for secrecy during the investigation.

“The FCC’s investigation is a late day and a dollar short,” Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “The FCC kept consumers in the dark for nearly two years after we learned that wireless carriers were selling our location information to shady middlemen.”

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, the FCC’s other Democrat, said the FCC’s investigation was extensive enough:

I am concerned that the penalties proposed today are not properly proportioned to the consumer harms suffered because we did not conduct an adequate investigation of those harms. The Notices make clear that, after all these months of investigation, the Commission still has no idea how many consumers’ data was mishandled by each of the carriers. I recognize that uncovering this data would have required gathering information from the third parties on which the carriers’ relied. But we should have done that via subpoenas if necessary. Carriers violated opt-in consent rule

The Communications Act requires carriers “to protect the confidentiality of certain customer data related to the provision of telecommunications service, including location information , “and” take reasonable measures to discover and protect against attempts to gain unauthorized access to this data, “the FCC said.

T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all “sold access to their customers’ location information to ‘aggregators,’ who then resold access to such information to third-party location-based service providers (like Securus), “the FCC said. “Although their exact practices varied, each carrier relied heavily on contract-based assurances that the location-based services providers (acting on the carriers’ on behalf) would obtain consent from the wireless carrier’s customer before accessing that customer’s location information.”

Hutcheson’s access to customer-location information makes it clear that the carriers did not make adequate efforts to safeguard the data, the FCC said. “Yet all four carriers apparently continued to sell access to their customers’ location information without putting in place reasonable safeguards to ensure that the dozens of location-based services providers acting on their behalf were actually obtaining consumer consent,” the FCC said.

The fines were proposed in Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Admonishment. They contain allegations that the carriers will be given an opportunity to respond to. The proposed fines set a ceiling — carriers could end up paying less, but the FCC “may not impose a greater monetary penalty in its final resolution,” the announcement said.
The FCC has a poor track record on collecting proposed fines. In March , a Wall Street Journal report found that the FCC had issued $ . 4 million in fines against robocallers since , but collected only $ 6, of that amount.                                                     
Read More

About admin

Check Also

On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995, Hacker News

On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995, Hacker News

Original images from Wired Magazine.One thing I’ve noticed since moving to San Francisco is that my cohort in the tech world doesn’t talk that much about the industry’s past. This is understandable: it’s easy to forget that tech has a history. Just as old hardware is regularly tossed and replaced, the Web washes itself clean. But…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *