FCC Questions U.S. Carriers on Phone Location Data Sales Practices

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 1, 2019.

  1. Rookbird macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2016
    This is ridiculous!!! Selling peoples real time location data without their knowledge! And why the heck is the FCC being headed by someone from Verizon?! Sure thats not a conflict of interest! Tempts me to become a luddite and get rid of all my technology!
  2. fairuz macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    Is spam really worse than every phone being rather precisely trackable?
  3. mantan macrumors 68000

    Nov 2, 2009
    The cost of having a cell phone should not be giving up the right to privacy any third party being able to purchase your location data without your consent.

    That’s like saying anybody should be able to access our email and browser history from a company since we are just utilizing a third party’s program and data infrastructure.

    Or landlines should be able to tape and sell our calls because ‘it’s their wires’.
  4. timborama, May 1, 2019
    Last edited: May 1, 2019

    timborama macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2011
    Unequivocally YES! Why can’t they address both issue though. It’s not an either-or.

    Do you really think the FCC or other agencies really care about consumer privacy issues?! They do not! If they did, they would impose tougher penalties like other countries do. FCC is funded and lobbied by the telcos, they will not bite the hand that feeds them.
  5. budselectjr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2009
    The US has extensive whistle blower protections.
  6. Brien macrumors 68030


    Aug 11, 2008
    Privacy is sadly dead.
  7. fairuz macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    Except when you whistleblow the US government, lol
    They're also suing Facebook over data breaches when probably the DMV and every other govt agency has leaked more things about me than I even know about myself.
    --- Post Merged, May 1, 2019 ---
    With spam, you'll get probably 4 fake calls a week, wasting like 15 seconds of your time. With this tracking, anyone who wants to know where you are at all times can do so for under $1K. This includes disgruntled coworkers, ex-wives, assassins, etc.
    --- Post Merged, May 1, 2019 ---
    It's not too bad. If you live like it's 1999, you'll get 1999 levels of privacy.
  8. MysteriousStain macrumors member


    Apr 11, 2014
    At the foot of a mountain and beside a river
    You can imagine the dark meeting decades ago as they wondered how to accomplish this. And now we willingly pay for the tracker device with our own money.
  9. NightFox macrumors 68020


    May 10, 2005
    Shropshire, UK
    It always staggers me when a regulator finds a corporation doing something unequivocally wrong but gives them x months to stop doing it. It's like if you were being attacked and the police showed up only to tell the attacker to stop hitting you within the next hour. It may be the case that immediately stopping the malpractice would cause the corporation problems, but those are problems of its own making.
  10. Morgenland, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

    Morgenland Suspended


    May 28, 2009
    not more, equally max
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2019 ---
    LOL, FNC facts?
  11. Edsel macrumors 6502

    Mar 18, 2010
    Over There
    Thank you. I was about to post a similar comment. People forget about the power of a ginormous government that could take your property and freedom with impunity. The United States, and I'm sure Russia and China do too, have repositionable geosynchronous satellites that can stream live video with stunning resolution. I have less to fear from those "big", "bad" corporations than I do from a government whose bureaucratic tentacles dictate how I breath, eat and speak.
  12. DoctorTech macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2014
    Indianapolis, IN
    I don't recommend anyone actually do this but I have often thought it would be poetic justice if someone cyber stalked the executives and Boards of Directors of Facebook, Google, AT&T, Verizon, etc. then published every minute detail of their lives online.

    Where do they live? What do they drive? What route do they take to work? Where do they go on vacation? What restaurants do they eat at and what time of day / day of week do they usually go there? Where are they when they aren't at home or at work? Who are they with when they are not at home or at work? How many kids do they have and where do they go to school?

    Stalk one person and it is called harassment. Stalk millions of people and it is called "increasing shareholder value".
  13. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Wow, the FCC actually doing something for the consumer?

    We’ll probably find out years down the road that they were questioning the carriers on how they can get in on accessing all of our location data.
  14. AxiomaticRubric macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2010
    On Mars, Praising the Omnissiah
    No longer applicable per Patriot Acts I, II, and III.
  15. neliason macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2015
    Public penalties aren’t justice. Justice would be the people who had their privacy violated receiving a large settlement. Public justice would be the offending company executives serving time. Fines just go to the government.
    --- Post Merged, May 2, 2019 ---
    Their data is our personal data. They aren’t selling anonymous information about where their data is sent and received from. They are selling the location of phone numbers on their network.

    Using your analogy it would be like Uber offering a real time map showing where a Uber car was but the identifying information was your name, home address and phone number. That is clearly a violation of your privacy.
  16. msama macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2017
    They should layer this technology under the pokemon AR game for bounty hunters to find criminals. "A wild ____ has appeared!" They could put it on dating apps so you can stalk your ex in real time or do a celebrity one where you always know where your favorite public officials and movie stars are so you can get that perfect candid picture or an autograph. This is an untapped goldmine of opportunities! </sarcasm>
  17. gavroche macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2007
    Left Coast
    This. It's shocking to me that it's still legal for fraudsters to spoof a fake number (that often belongs to some innocent person or company) to help commit a crime. What legitimate purpose could exist to justify allowing it?
  18. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Meanwhile, at least in Massachusetts, what are all these camera towers on the roadways, how is the information collected by electronic tolls being used, when my license is scanned when purchasing alcohol what info is being collected.
    The corporate world is selling information just like credit card companies, banks, and other businesses. We are merely a commodity.
  19. SharksFan22 macrumors regular


    Dec 29, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Exactly. Those are all similarly intrusive as cell phone tracking.

    Of course, I bet this is all in the mobile operator’s terms and conditions that I bet few of us read before signing up for service. It more about “give me my shiny new iPhone” than reading the fine print.
  20. fmillion macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2011
    One of the biggest problems with these sorts of issues is that, for the most part, the average Joe doesn't care that much until they're personally affected. Even if they are personally affected, it's really only those who are negatively affected who actually care that much.

    Basic UX principle: when you have an end goal in mind, you focus efforts on getting there and anything that tries to slow you down or stop you is noise that you actively try to ignore. This is the problem. Data collection practices often actually are written out in a privacy policy, but nobody reads it because at the time you are presented with that policy, it's the least of your concern because your specific goal is to get to using the app/service/etc. Basically, when you should care the most is when you actually care the least.

    I talk to friends of mine about privacy and even pose doomsday scenarios. I usually get responses like "Yeah, it's kinda creepy that I saw an ad for something I'd looked up on Amazon, but really what's the big deal? At least I get to use Facebook for free!" or "Yeah, i know google has all my search history but come on, who's going to target ME? I'm not famous or somehow significant enough to matter." In other words, people are more interested in getting the free service or other benefit that sales of data bring.

    The way I usually try to educate people on this is to think of it like insurance. We all know we need medical, house and vehicle insurance. Some of us will go through our entire lives without ever having a car accident, any damage to our house/property, or any significant medical condition. But (at least ideally) those people still carry insurance just in case. The problem is that the benefit of not getting insurance (a little extra money in your pocket) is one thing, but to a lot of people, the services provided by companies and apps are almost more valuable than the money. In a way many people are basically addicted to these services - even people who I have heard outwardly speak out against privacy violations and data collection wholly admit they still use Google and Facebook. Why? Because even though people don't agree with their data practices, they offer services people want and now depend on.

    I sadly predict that it's going to take some serious catastrophic event that affects almost everyone in the country in a visible and tangible way before the mass population takes notice. Until then, people will gripe and complain but the allure of these apps and services will keep them basically unconvinced. Even big hacks like Equifax and Yahoo haven't made anyone not in the tech circle really care that much more in my experience.
  21. 370zulu macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2014
    I never said justice. I said penalties because public opinion about a company can affect their bottom line and when the bottom line is affected negatively enough, the shareholders of that company can affect the employment of the decision makers at that company negatively. If laws have been broken, then yes justice needs to be served as well as penalties levied. This type of behavior from the companies listed must change and the penalties and justice (if legally applicable) should be public, swift and severe. Send a message.
  22. Williesleg macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2014
    NY, NY
    How would you know?
  23. I7guy macrumors Core


    Nov 30, 2013
    Gotta be in it to win it
    Just guessing they don’t, unless it’s a legal request.
  24. nouveau_redneck macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2017
    To the contrary, one should have to opt in. Being opted out should be the default. If our leaders were protecting consumers, opt in would be a requirement for any type of data collection/selling.
  25. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth

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