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AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile US pledge, again, to not sell your location to shady geezers. Sorry, we don’t believe them

…and neither should you!

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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.

Not PCI DSS Compliant: Experian

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Hackers broke into a server and made off with names, driver license numbers, and other personal information belonging to more than 15 million US consumers who applied for cellular service from T-Mobile.

The breach was the result of an attack on a database maintained by credit-reporting service Experian, which was contracted to process credit applications for T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement posted online. The investigation into the hack has yet to be completed, but so far the compromise is known to affect people who applied for T-Mobile service from September 1, 2013 through September 16 of this year. It’s at least the third data breach to affect Experian disclosed since March 2013.

“Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected,” Legere wrote. “I take our customer and prospective customer privacy VERY seriously. This is no small issue for us. I do want to assure our customers that neither T-Mobile’s systems nor network were part of this intrusion and this did not involve any payment card numbers or bank account information.”

 

I am not sure where to file this: perhaps Cyber Hypocrisy? Wow, if the Credit Card companies do not take cyber seriously, then we are all in deep do do.