The FCC voted this afternoon to issue fines totalling $200 million against T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for selling customers’ location data to companies that allowed it to be misused. Various law enforcement service providers were sold access to the data violating its confidentiality.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency would seek more than $91 million from T-Mobile, $57 million from AT&T, $48 million from Verizon and $12 million from Sprint. The agency found the carriers had violated a section of the Telecommunications Act requiring them to protect the confidentiality of their customers’ call information.
The fines are among the largest proposed in years by the FCC, according to the New York Times. The complaints from customers began about two years ago while the carriers issued statements saying they were limiting access to the source data.
A T-Mobile spokeswoman told the New York Times the company intended “to dispute the conclusions” of the investigation and the fine.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), issued a statement critical of the FCC’s late action on the vote saying the inquiry into abuse of the data “only [began] after public pressure mounted,” and that the FCC was issuing,“a set of comically inadequate fines that won’t stop phone companies from abusing Americans’ privacy the next time they can make a quick buck.”