Data For Sale: How Anyone Can Locate Your Phone
Third party ‘location brokers’ are reselling data from carriers, and there may not be much you can do about it.
An Article Review.
For many years it has been common knowledge that your cell phone’s physical location can be identified–signal triangulation, GPS and even nearby wifi networks can be used by your cell phone company, or law enforcement to narrow down where you are. What many people may not know, however, is that this information is often available for sale to private individuals and corporations, often without any verification other than a valid form of payment.
This revelation stems from an investigation conducted by Vice, which was submitted by our own Sean Waugh. During the course of their investigation, the reporters found that with just a few hundred dollars they could find the current location of phones from a variety of carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. The data, intended for bounty hunters and other organizations, is often resold by third party “location brokers” who are less discriminating when it comes to who they work with.
There is some positive news, though: policies controlling the sale of location data already exist at the cellular providers mentioned in the article, and simply need to be followed…and now that this practice has been publicized there may be enough pressure on the carriers for that to happen.
Original article by Joseph Cox, writing for Vice.