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Major cell phone companies could face major fines for tracking customers

FCC proposes fines over shared user data
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Posted at 2:11 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 14:11:06-05

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Federal Communications Commission has proposed roughly $200 million in fines combined for the country's four major phone companies for improperly disclosing customers' real-time location.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said during a news conference Friday that the fines amounted to $91 million for T-Mobile, $57 million for AT&T, $48 million for Verizon and $12 million for Sprint. More details would be released later Friday. The carriers can object to the proposed fines.

Location data makes it possible to identify the whereabouts of nearly any phone in the U.S. The carriers had apparently allowed outside companies to pinpoint the location of wireless devices without their owners' knowledge or consent, according to published reports.

In a letter last month to lawmakers, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that the agency had "concluded that one or more wireless carriers apparently violated federal law" and that the agency would vote on proposed fines for the violations.