Collecting location data from customers' smartphones with permission is one thing, but selling it on to third parties is something the big four US carriers have faced increasing criticism for over the past year. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile have all released statements along the lines of 'we're sorry, your data is important to us,' but legal action is now being taken.
According to Motherboard, separate but practically identical class action lawsuits have been filed against each carrier. As many as 300 million customers are covered by the actions across the four network providers, with an unspecified amount of damages being sought in each lawsuit filed by consumer protection firm Z LAW.
Telecommunications companies are required by federal law to protect the 'customer proprietary network information' of their users, and location data collected by devices on their networks is included in this. Whether or not each carrier violated this law will determine the outcome of what could be landmark cases.