AT&T Should Name Companies That Received Location Data, Digital Rights Group Says

The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation is pressing a judge to order AT&T to name all companies to which it disclosed customers' location data.

The request comes in a lawsuit brought by the organization on behalf of three California residents -- Katherine Scott, Carolyn Jewel and George Pontis -- who are suing AT&T for allegedly violating their privacy by disclosing their location data to outside companies.

The customers are seeking a court order prohibiting AT&T from sharing location data in the future.

AT&T recently asked U.S. District Magistrate Sallie Kim, in the Northern District of California, to dismiss the lawsuit for several reasons. Among others, the company says it stopped disclosing geolocation data to aggregators in March.

On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation countered that it's entitled to obtain evidence from AT&T in order to evaluate its claims.

“AT&T provides no facts that show how it stopped this disclosure, whether and how it can resume disclosing customers’ location data, or proof that it can prevent such disclosure from happening again,” the digital rights group writes. “Nor does AT&T provide facts showing how it intends to prevent further public misrepresentations regarding whether and how it protects customers’ privacy.”

The group also says AT&T has made “inconsistent” representations in the past.

“There are conflicting facts regarding when, if ever, AT&T stopped disclosing customers’ location data,” the organization writes. “Since 2018, AT&T has said publicly and to members of Congress that it would stop disclosing customers’ location data, but those representations have been, at best, inconsistent... United States Senator Ron Wyden bluntly described AT&T’s repeated promises that it would stop disclosing customer data as so frequent and predictable that '[y]ou can almost set your clock by it.'”

The group says it wants a host of information from AT&T, including names of third parties that received the data, and communications occurring from March 2018 and the present between the telecom and outside companies with access to the location information.

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