Besides AT&T, other defendants include LocationSmart and Zumigo. The pair are data aggregators that collect location data and sell it to third parties. The EFF and its co-plaintiff, law firm Pierce Bainbridge, say that AT&T’s customers never gave the wireless provider the right to use its data for commercial use. The location data is meant to be used to track emergency calls only. The EFF is an international non-profit group that defends “digital privacy, free speech, and innovation.”
“This class action arises from AT&T’s knowing, systematic, and unauthorized sale of its wireless phone customers’ sensitive location data. Despite vowing to its customers that it does not “sell [their] Personal Information to anyone for any purpose.” AT&T has been selling its customers’ real-time location data to credit agencies, bail bondsmen, and countless other third parties without the required customer consent and without any legal authority. AT&T’s practice is an egregious and dangerous breach of Plaintiffs’ and all AT&T customers’ privacy, as well as a violation of state and federal law.”-Scott, et al. v. AT&T Inc., et al.
“The location data AT&T offered up for sale is extremely precise and can locate any of its wireless subscribers in real-time, providing a window into the intimate details of their lives: where they go to the doctor, where they worship, where they live, and much more.”-Abbye Klamann Ognibene, associate, Pierce Bainbridge.
“The facts don’t support this lawsuit, and we will fight it. 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.”-AT&T
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The plaintiffs claim that AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act and also violated California’s unfair competition law by deceiving customers into believing that their location data was protected. The suit also alleges that AT&T, LocationSmart, and Zumigo have violated state constitutional, statutory, and common law rights to privacy. The filing asks for an injunction preventing AT&T, LocationSmart, and Zumigo from continuing its practices of selling the location data of AT&T customers. It also asks for monetary damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and other costs. The plaintiffs want any location data already sold to be returned to AT&T or destroyed.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, can be found right here.