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Wireless carriers sold location data used by 250 bounty hunters

Motherboard found that the sale of location data from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile is far more prevalent than originally thought.

Wireless carriers sold location data used by 250 bounty hunters
[Photo: Scott Blake/Unsplash]

A new report shows that the wireless carriers’ sale of user location data happened on a larger scale than originally believed. Motherboard reported in January that big wireless carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint had been selling users’ location data, and that at least one bounty hunter had acquired the data. The carriers said at the time that these were isolated incidents. Turns out they weren’t.

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A new Motherboard report says the location data was accessed by as many as 250 bounty hunters. Joseph Cox writes that one bail bond firm used the phone location data more than 18,000 times, via a now-defunct company called CerCareOne.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden responding to Motherboard’s story:

“This scandal keeps getting worse. Carriers assured customers location tracking abuses were isolated incidents. Now it appears that hundreds of people could track our phones, and they were doing it for years before anyone at the wireless companies took action. That’s more than an oversight—that’s flagrant, wilful disregard for the safety and security of Americans.”

See the whole story here.

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About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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