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AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Fight Consumer Privacy Protections
We'll Be on Our Best Behavior. Trust Us.
by Karl Bode 06:29PM Tuesday Jul 17 2012
Sprint, AT&T and Verizon are looking at billions in new revenue by selling user location data (and anything else that isn't nailed down) to marketers, city planners, and everyone else. As such they're busily trying to derail what's essentially a rather feeble inquiry by the FCC carriers fear could result in the government actually imposing privacy consumer protections. In a slate of new filings with the FCC, Sprint is arguing that because wireless operators are no longer really important gatekeepers (which of course isn't true), there's no need for the government to get involved in consumer privacy protections:
"Carriers are no longer the gatekeepers or sole enablers of the mobile experience. Many players have a role in a user's mobile experience, from platform providers to device manufacturers to application providers, as well as carriers."
It's a fairly thin argument to suggest there should be no privacy protections for users because everybody along the food chain (from Verizon to Google, Apple, or third party vendors) is busy happily selling user data with absolutely no rules in place. All three of the biggest carriers continue to argue that companies should be allowed to "self-regulate" on this front. From an AT&T filing with the FCC:
A flexible privacy framework that relies on the development of voluntary codes of conduct with a first layer of self-enforcement by market-based accountability mechanisms, with the backstop of FTC oversight, can best take account of the role that each participant plays in the mobile marketplace."
We've all seen how well self-regulation works (see: banks), and in general such efforts tend to be show ponies designed to do just barely enough to prevent the creation of real rules, resulting in a downward cycle of repeat offenses and scandals (see: banks). For numerous years now companies like Verizon have argued that public shame will keep them honest about privacy abuses, though the fact most of these transactions occur in secret (with consumers barely informed via nebulous fine print) results in most violations never coming to light. ISPs, for example, have sold user clickstream data for years without disclosure or consent, with nobody batting an eyelash.

The fact remains that there's simply so much cross industry lobbying cash aligned against consumer privacy protections for wireless that we'll likely never see any rules with teeth. Another "problem" is that if someone starts imposing restrictions on the sale of user location data to marketers, that could lead to somebody actually doing something about these carriers dumping data in the lap of intelligence agencies with little to no regard for the law -- and we certainly wouldn't want that.

topics flat nest 

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

1 edit

The Fox is well equipped to Guard the Hen-house

Those teeth and claws will do wonders to keep them in line.
Mr Matt

Eustis, FL
·Embarq Now Centu..

Florida screws consumers and protects big business!

Here in Florida it is illegal to record a conversation unless both parties are notified that the call is being recorded. But big business can monitor and process a customers personal communication for profit. What is really amazing is how accurately Google Voice can convert voice mail to text. This technology can be used by any communication company with similar equipment to convert consumers conversations to text. The spy can then analyze the consumers written and voice communications to look for certain combinations of words that can be construed as negative or threatening comments or something the company just does not like related to just about anything. Then retaliate against the customer. Great way to locate potential whistle blowers or political dissidents here in the United States. George Orwell was just a little early in his predictions about the future.



Re: Florida screws consumers and protects big business!

George Orwell was early ???????

His book was titled for the era of 1984.
You did not see these things happening then ?

Granted they have only escalated since 1984, but they were most certainly in place and running at that time, just they were not quite as openly obvious (enough for the general populous to notice).

The obvious and openly known is despicable, imagine the things that are happening that you don't know about.....

Lone Wolf
Almost Retired
·Verizon Online DSL
Gotta love Google Voice. They can record and store your conversations, with your permission of course.

As per their instructions:

Recording calls

There are different laws that apply to call recording, so check your current state and Federal laws before using this feature. Some states require both parties to consent to any recorded conversation, while other states require one party to consent to the recording.

To assist in the compliance of these laws, we provide an automated verbal announcement to parties on a call when call recording has been initiated and when it's been stopped.

To get started simply enable the call recording feature:

Click the gear icon and select Settings.
Click the Calls tab.
Select the checkbox next to Call Options.

Once you've enabled it you can turn it on during a call by pressing 4 at any time to record your incoming calls. You can do it when you first accept a call, or any time after it's started. To stop the recording, press 4 again or hang up.
Storing recorded calls

We store your recorded calls online. To access them, go to your Google Voice inbox and your recorded call will appear with a recorded icon next to the contact's picture.


Yep. The private sector here is basically able to do whatever it please and with zero consequences. Even law enforcement is forced to rely on unregulated, lawless, data mining companies for information.

Think about it, unlike others abroad, we as a nation prefer shadow private sector corporations, that are not even accountable, than our own government. We are blinded with our ideologically driven views and paranoia of government.


Newburgh, NY

The saddest part...

They tell us they are doing all of this... stomping on our rights and letting their corporate friends do it to "protect us from terrorists". The sad part, is the most dangerous terrorists have already taken over... they are called the U.S. Government.

Stalin would be envious.


Re: The saddest part...

Americans are so obsessed and paranoid about government, that we have allowed the private sector to do as it pleases with any of our information. Look at the data mining going on right now by corporations, that you have no idea about, nor they have any limit. Whereas, this is flat-out illegal in a range of industrialized countries.

In Canada for example, you can request that all of your details be removed and not shared, the second you seize conducting any business with a organization. It's their government that legislated this law.



Consumer Privacy is extinct

There is no such thing as privacy rights despite what is said, promised or put into contract.Don't think for a minute that your information is not being sold, shared and archived.
One of the biggest corporate revenue enhancement opportunities is data mining and analysing. There is powerful software out there that can crunch seemingly disparate bits of information and come up with some surprising and scary results and is in use today.
Our government, whether it be local state Federal can and do obtain "private" information without our consent or even notification. 1.6 million "requests" for cellphone records don't lie. Attachement of tracking devices on a private individuals vehicle, electronic surveillance our homes place of work and play area reality.
There are real efforts to develop brute force encryption breaking techniques using powerful systems that were unavailable even several years ago. Imagine a cluster of fitting into a rack that can accommodate 5 servers, 20 Terabytes of memory and 400 processors all fitting into a rack 2 ft wide, three feet deep and 6 ft high. Ah isn't technology partnered with Corporations and governments a delightful situation?