AT&T was hit with a lawsuit Tuesday accusing it of promoting clients’ real-time location knowledge to 3rd events like credit score businesses and bail guarantors, together with bounty hunters and stalkers, with out having buyer consent.
The Digital Frontier Basis (EFF) and Pierce Bainbridge Beck Value & Hecht LLP are representing three AT&T clients within the class motion swimsuit towards AT&T and different knowledge aggregation firms, explicitly singling out LocationSmart and Zumigo.
“The situation knowledge AT&T supplied up on the market is extraordinarily exact and might find any of its wi-fi subscribers in real-time, offering a window into the intimate particulars of their lives: the place they go to the physician, the place they worship, the place they reside, and far more,” stated Abbye Klamann Ognibene, an affiliate at Pierce Bainbridge, stated in an EFF press launch.
The press launch factors to an investigation by Motherboard from earlier this yr that alleged main cell networks like AT&T, T-Cellular and Dash had been promoting entry to clients’ location knowledge to entities resembling bounty hunters, automobile dealerships, or landlords.
Tuesday’s lawsuit by the EFF alleges that AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act and engaged in misleading practices. the EFF additionally stated that AT&T, Zumigo and LocationSmart violated constitutional, statutory, and customary legislation rights to privateness underneath California state legislation.
“AT&T and knowledge aggregators have systematically violated the placement privateness rights of tens of hundreds of thousands of AT&T clients,” stated EFF Workers Legal professional Aaron Mackey in an announcement. “Shoppers should stand as much as shield their privateness and shut down this unlawful market. That’s why we filed this lawsuit at this time.”
EFF is seeking to prohibit the cell community big from promoting additional location knowledge and for AT&T to return or destroy any location knowledge that was offered by the community.
AT&T informed Digital Traits that it not shares location knowledge with aggregation firms and plans to battle the lawsuit.
“The information don’t assist this lawsuit, and we’ll battle it. Location-based providers like roadside help, fraud safety, and medical gadget alerts have clear and even life-saving advantages. We solely share location knowledge with buyer consent,” ” a spokesperson for AT&T informed Digital Traits. “We stopped sharing location knowledge with aggregators after studies of misuse.”
In keeping with its web site, LocationSmart is a cloud location service that gives “privacy-protected location providers from a number of sources together with carriers, Wi-Fi, IP addresses, gadget SDK and landlines…”
Zumigo is an identical service that “ensures consumer authenticity and prevents fraud by combining cell identification and site.”
Digital Traits reached out to LocationSmart and Zumigo for touch upon the lawsuit and the alleged claims, however we’ve but to obtained a response.