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Investigation Finds Telecom Companies Sold Sensitive Customer GPS Data

An investigation through Motherboard has found that an anticipated 250 bounty hunters and associated organizations had access to patron location statistics from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

Documents received via Motherboard show that telecommunications agencies offered statistics supposed to be used with the aid of 911 operators and first responders to information aggregators, who then bought it to bounty hunters. In some cases, the GPS facts were so correct that a user will be tracked to particular locations inner a building.

According to Motherboard, between at least 2012 until it closed in overdue 2017, a now-defunct information vendor referred to as Cercone allowed bounty hunters, bail bondsmen and bail agents to get right of entry to the actual-time area of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint cellular telephones. A source acquainted with the organization instructed investigators that the organization might now and again rate up to $1,100 consistent with phone vicinity.

CerCareOne clients have been able to access facts which includes a telephone’s “assisted GPS” –or A-GPS—data, a technology utilized by first responders to discover 911 callers in emergency situations.

Blake Reid, companion scientific professor at Colorado Law, instructed Motherboard that “with assisted GPS, your area can be triangulated inside just a few meters. This permits constructing a detailed report of everywhere your tour.”

“The most effective reason we grant vendors any get admission to this information is to make sure that first responders are able to locate us in an emergency,” Reid stated. “If the vendors are turning round and the usage of that get entry to promote information to bounty hunters or whomever else, it’s miles a surprising abuse of the consider that the public locations in them to safeguard privateness whilst defensive public protection.”