…and neither should you!
US cellphone networks have promised – again – that they will stop selling records of their subscribers’ whereabouts to anyone willing to cough up cash.
In a statement on Thursday, AT&T said: “In light of recent reports about the misuse of location services, we have decided to eliminate all location aggregation services – even those with clear consumer benefits,” adding: “We are immediately eliminating the remaining services and will be done in March.”
That same March deadline was referenced by T-Mobile US’s CEO John Legere who had promised last June to end the sale of subscribers’ private location data. Legere tweeted this week: “T-Mobile is completely ending location aggregator work. We’re doing it the right way to avoid impacting consumers who use these types of services for things like emergency assistance. It will end in March, as planned and promised.”
While there is money to be made and no law preventing it, it is a virtual certainty that AT&T and others will figure out a way to profit from selling their customers’ private data. Last time around, FCC boss Ajit Pai refused to investigate the matter, and while there has been no response from Pai on the renewed calls for an investigation thanks to the partial US government shutdown, it is a virtual certainly that he will continue his pro-telco agenda and stay away from the issue.
Meanwhile, pressure grows in Congress to introduce a privacy law – an American version of Europe’s GDPR – especially in the light of abuses by Facebook and others. But that process is very far from certain given that many of the companies that benefit most from selling user data are also some of the most powerful and generous lobbyists in Washington DC.