FCC to vote on collection of 'Z-axis' location data

(Mar 15, 2019) The U.S. Federal Communications Commission plans to vote on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring the collection of more accurate location data, Ars Technica reports. The “Z-axis” data, which carriers can gather via the barometric pressure sensors in a customer’s phone, would identify where a person is situated in a multi-story building in the event of a 911 call. The proposal, created by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, does not reference the word “privacy," nor does it reveal the privacy rul... Read More

Wyden criticizes carriers over 'atrocious' privacy track record

(Mar 14, 2019) Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., criticized wireless carriers for their poor privacy practices, MediaPost reports. Wyden wrote a letter to executives at AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile asking the companies to provide information about instances when location data was shared with third parties that obtained the information by means of deception. Wyden told the carriers they have a legal obligation to protect customers’ data and notify federal law enforcement of data breaches. “Given your companies'... Read More

State attorneys general voice support for bill to combat robocalls

(Mar 7, 2019) The attorneys general from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all voiced their support of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, Law360 reports. The bill would give the U.S. Federal Communications Commission increased powers to combat robocalls. Under the TRACED Act, the FCC is given three years to take action against violators of the bill. The agency would also have the ability to levy $10,000 fines per robocall. "S... Read More

Rise of 5G could lead to location data privacy issues

(Mar 1, 2019) Columbia University's Steve Bellovin sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss the potential privacy issues related to 5G networks. Since 5G signals in the U.S. will have a shorter range, Bellovin said, more cell towers will need to be erected. Bellovin believes this gives companies the ability to collect more precise location data, and since 5G cannot go through walls, the computer science professor said towers will be placed inside buildings for even more accurate location information. ... Read More

FCC's Pai discusses privacy and pushback on net neutrality

(Feb 27, 2019) In an interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai discusses how the FCC plans to address privacy concerns, pushback on his net neutrality reforms, and more. In reaction to the big tech controversy, Pai said, “Two and a half years ago, I made the argument that online consumers have a uniform expectation of privacy, regardless of what type of company holds their information, they want that information to be safeguarded.” Pai added that the recent coverage... Read More

Researchers discover security flaws in 4G, 5G standards

(Feb 25, 2019) Academics have discovered security flaws within the 4G and 5G standards they claim can be exploited to intercept phone calls and track users’ locations, TechCrunch reports. The researchers said an attack they developed, named Torpedo, can take advantage of a weakness in a phone’s paging protocol. After several phone calls are placed and ended in a short period, a paging message is sent without notifying the user of an incoming call. Hackers can use this flaw to track a person’s location, as well... Read More

NPC vows to safeguard mobile data

(Feb 21, 2019) Following the passage of the Mobile Number Portability Act, the Philippines National Privacy Commissioner vowed to work with the National Telecommunications Commission and other relevant agencies to safeguard the personal data of mobile subscribers, CNN Philippines reports. Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the act will prevent mobile service providers from charging extra on domestic calls and texts. It will also impose fines against companies that do not allow users to transfer service to an... Read More

Brazilian institute calls for operators to address data-sharing allegations

(Feb 19, 2019) The Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection wants a trio of operators to address complaints that they have shared their customer databases, Telecompaper reports. Idec Researcher Barbara Simao said the alleged data sharing from Oi, Net and Vivo violate the country’s Data Protection Law, Consumer Defense Code and sector regulations. Simao added an increase in spam phone calls in the country last year may have been a result of the operators’ practices. The institute will take legal action should... Read More

Romanian Presidency releases ePrivacy Regulation amendments

(Feb 19, 2019) The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has released a set of amendments to the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. The revised version of the ePrivacy Regulation comes ahead of meetings to be held with delegations Feb. 19 and 20 to discuss the changes. The revisions include a requirement for supervisory authorities to cooperate with data protection authorities when appropriate, as well as new investigative and corrective powers for those supervisory authorities. The Romanian Pres... Read More