Toronto police abandon gunshot detection system

(Feb 15, 2019) The Toronto Police Service announced it has abandoned its plan to adopt a gunshot detection system, The Globe and Mail reports. ShotSpotter incorporates a network of rooftop microphones to determine the exact location of a gunshot. Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General told the police department the “ShotSpotter technology could compromise Section 8 of the Charter rights, specifically unreasonable search and seizure.” Privacy advocates expressed concerns about the surveillance capabilities ... Read More

Investigation shows bounty hunters accessed location data intended for 911 operators

(Feb 7, 2019) According to documents obtained by Motherboard, approximately 250 bounty hunters and related businesses had access to AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint customer location data. The documents also show that data intended for 911 operators and first responders was sold to data aggregators who, in turn, sold the data to bounty hunters. The report notes that one data seller had access to “assisted GPS” data, which is intended to provide a user’s location data to within a few meters. According to those in... Read More

Edmonton cites privacy rules for keeping accident info away from public

(Feb 1, 2019) Debate swirls in Edmonton around whether information about fatal and serious traffic incidents should be made publicly available, the Edmonton Journal reports. Edmonton city staff argues in a report set to go in front of the city council’s community and public services committee that any accident information made public would violate privacy rules under the Traffic Safety Act. Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson asked back in October 2018 to make the information available through the city’s data catalog. ... Read More

Zumigo found to have lobbied FCC for removing consent requirements

(Jan 24, 2019) Following the discovery surrounding telecoms’ data-selling practices, Motherboard reports that Zumigo, one of the companies found to buy location data access, lobbied the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 2017 to lift restrictions surrounding user consent for data sharing. In a presentation, Zumigo presented a proposal to the FCC that included allowing carriers to use vague, “more flexible” language when describing consent requirements. In an interview with Motherboard, Zumigo CEO Chirag... Read More

Wyden presses telecoms for answers over user data sales

(Jan 22, 2019) In a letter to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., expressed “disappointment” and “disbelief” at the company’s continued collection and sale of user location data, Motherboard reports. He added that the company’s data practices were in “direct contradiction” to the company’s “‘personal evaluation’ of the issue six months ago.” Wyden also sent a letter to the CEOs of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint reiterating his request that the companies reveal the extent to which the comp... Read More

Oyo Hotels' pilot program raises privacy concerns

(Jan 17, 2019) BloombergQuint reports the data sharing behind Oyo Hotels’ digital register pilot program is raising privacy concerns. The plan was first reported by the Business Standard, where it was explained the digital record system would replace traditional registration in an effort to facilitate direct data sharing with “various state governments and law enforcement authorities.” In an emailed statement to BloombergQuint, the hotel company explained this information would be shared after police issued an... Read More

House Republicans press telecoms for geolocation answers

(Jan 17, 2019) Following the discovery of telecoms’ sale of geolocation data, House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore., along with three other Republican committee members, has sent letters to T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, asking the companies to explain the privacy policies concerning location-based information and services, Bloomberg Law reports. The lawmakers also sent letters to Zumigo and MicroBilt, asking that the companies identify all commercial relationships wit... Read More

Rep. Pallone asks FCC for briefing into telecoms' data-sharing practices

(Jan 14, 2019) U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., has written a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai about the agency’s oversight of telecoms after last week's news about the sale of geolocation data, The Hill reports. Pallone calls on the FCC to address the issue despite the current government shutdown. "This briefing should explain why the Federal Communications Commission has yet to end wireless carriers’ unauthorized disclosure of cons... Read More

Is LA City–weather app lawsuit a sign of things to come?

(Jan 11, 2019) Recently, the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney filed a complaint against the company behind the Weather Channel mobile application. The complaint cites California’s Unfair Competition Law and alleges that TWC’s use of the application to collect “users’ private, personal geolocation data ... throughout the day and night” is “fraudulent and deceptive” and “unfair.” IAPP Westin Research Fellow Mitchell Noordyke, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, writes about the case for Privacy Tracker, saying, "The complai... Read More

Telecoms plan to scale back location aggregator services

(Jan 11, 2019) AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile announced they have all scaled back their data-access policies after it was discovered the companies sold location data to inappropriate parties, Motherboard reports. The decisions come after Motherboard initially reported bounty hunters purchased location data through a service powered by information that originated from the telecoms. An AT&T spokesman said the company has “decided to eliminate all location aggregation services — even those with clear consumer ... Read More