FCC To Fine Cellphone Carriers For Mishandling User Data


The Federal Communications Commission is charging U.S. cellphone carriers for not protecting users location data.

Those cellphone carriers being charged are AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The FCC is expected to leverage large fines for violating data protection standards and the fines are expected to reach $200 million or more. The exact fine amount will be announce on Friday.

The charges specifically say that these cellphone carriers provided real time location data of cell users to middlemen who then misused the data. Additionally, certain carriers had continued misusing user data even after they had assured congress of appropriately handling user data.

Some have highlighted the lack of agency that cell users have in ensuring that their data privacy rights are being adhered to.

“Consumers have no choice but to share highly private information with a provider about everywhere they go” to obtain cellular service, said Laura Moy, associate director at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law.

The FCC has not offered to settle the charges and thus opens up the possibility of cellphone carriers fighting the fines. Cellphone carriers may defend their access to this data since it is necessary to know coordinate locations to route calls and other media onto cellphones.

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