Source: USA Today
If you use location services on your smartphone, this new lawsuit filed might just include you.
All four major cellphone companies have just been hit with a class-action lawsuit over allegations that they sold their customers’ private location data to bounty hunters and low-level law enforcement.
The suit, which was filed by Z LAW on Thursday, claims that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile made geolocation data available to a Securus, a broker that allows law enforcement to access your location without a warrant.
Z LAW is a “consumer protection” law firm, according to its website.
The class-action lawsuit covers 100 million customers from Verizon and AT&T and 50 million for T-Mobile and Sprint customers between April 30, 2015, and Feb. 15, 2019.
The suits are seeking unspecified damages. USA TODAY has reached out to each of the wireless service companies for comment on the lawsuit.
The location-selling practice was brought to light after an investigative report from Motherboard was published in January showing that AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint gave a network of middlemen access to their customers’ real-time location.
The New York Times also ran a report in 2018 saying that the carriers provided the private data to Securus.
Following the reports, 15 senators called on the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to look into how the wireless carriers allowed third parties to track Americans’ cellphones without consent.
“Americans expect that their location data will be protected,” the group of senators wrote in an open letter.
“The wireless industry has repeatedly demonstrated a blatant disregard for its customer’s privacy. It is, therefore vital that regulators take swift action to ensure that consumers are protected.”