AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint were caught sending real-time location data on customers to companies that sold it on to other companies and anyone who wanted the data to track people in real time.
The four largest U.S. cell carriers have been selling access to phone location data, which tracked phones without asking for the owner’s permission.
When the practice was exposed before, under public pressure, cell carriers said they’d stop selling people’s location data. But a new report by Motherboard shows that a payment of $300 and a phone number was still enough to obtain real-time location data on people from companies, that still have access from most cell carriers.
The companies sell the data on to other companies, like a credit reporting company based out of Georgia, that in turn sells it on to other firms that want to track people. In the case of the Motherboard report, it was a bail bond company, whose bounty hunter was paid to track down the reporter.