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The FCC proposes token fines for network operators who have sold telephone location data



The networks followed a similar pattern, according to the FCC. They sold site access to aggregators who themselves resold access to service providers, with each network operator relying largely on "contract-based assurances" that it would obtain customer permission before accessing this information. As you may have guessed, this was not always the case ̵

1; a Missouri sheriff, Cory Hutcheson, had access to "hundreds" of customer data between 2014 and 2017 without permission.

There were no allegations that airlines would continue to sell location data despite assurances that they would stop. However, the FCC emphasized that the allegations and proposed penalties are not final.

You will not be surprised to hear that there is resistance to the fines. A T-Mobile spokesman claimed to Engadget that the airline "took quick action" and was the first airline to stop selling location data, but that it "fully intends [s] to contest the FCC's proposal". We also asked AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for comments.

Fines do no permanent financial damage on these networks if they often make more money in a single day, but that's not the point. Ultimately, the FCC wants companies to better block data, including checking authorization directly at the customer. This could force them to introduce stricter guidelines and reduce the attraction of selling data if it cannot be used to persecute people without their consent.


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