According to The Verge, AT&T is the latest Phone Company to be sued for allegedly selling customers’ location data to third parties.
The company is being sued by the digital activism group Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of customers located in California. The suit also pointed to other tech companies, including LocationSmart and Zumigo, for collecting customers’ location data and selling it to third parties for commercial use, The Verge says.
“Under federal law, the suit continues, AT&T is bound to secure the sensitive customer information, but has failed to do so,” The Verge reports. “The suit also accuses the company of misrepresenting its privacy protections to customers.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that customers’ data is meant to be collected “for tracking emergency calls,” and that the data collected in AT&T’s current case was not properly authorized by customers for commercial use. The organization also argues that that AT&T’s data practices here were “outrageous and harmful,” and put customers at risk. Under the suit, AT&T is also “bound to secure” customers’ sensitive data and “failed to do so,” and accuses AT&T of misrepresenting privacy protections to customers, The Verge says.
The data company is fighting back:
“The facts don’t support this lawsuit, and we will fight it,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement. “Location-based services like roadside assistance, fraud protection, and medical device alerts have clear and even life-saving benefits. We only share location data with customer consent. We stopped sharing location data with aggregators after reports of misuse.”
The suit was filed earlier this month and is continuing under federal law. It also proposes to “create a class of plaintiffs that includes AT&T customers living in California since 2011,” and seeks damages for millions of customers.
AT&T isn’t the only phone company receiving attention for data troubles – earlier this year, T-Mobile, and Sprint had sold access to the real-time locations of their customers’ phones to third party entities before going to bounty hunters. Numerous unhappy customers sought damages from those companies as a result.