Responding to an investigation by Motherboard about eventual landing of shared data from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the hands of bounty hunters and unauthorized persons, Google also came out asking T-Mobile and Sprint not to share location data of its Fi service customers with the third parties.
Google’s Fi uses network infrastructure of T-Mobile and Sprint to offer text, phone and data services in the United States.
Google spokesman told Motherboard in a statement late on Thursday that Fi is not a carrier but an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) which offers its services using networks of other carriers and when they came to know about the Motherboard’s investigation about practices of handling of customer data by bounty hunters or not authorized to handle it, they asked their network partners to stop delivering access to location data of Fi customers specifically. Google did not mention or disclosed any details that when was it demanded the telcos to do so.
An MVNO is a company which provide services similar to that of telecommunication companies do like texts, calls and data service, but it uses the infrastructure of a telecom carrier to render its services, and Google’s Fi is also an MVNO launched in 2015 and has expended its coverage internationally in 170 countries and it also offers data only SIMs. Recently Google unveiled its expansion plans of Fi being available to more of the android devices and to the iPhones also.
A detailed investigation report by Motherboard regarding malpractices related to sharing of location data has not only alerted the telcos but the at government level it provoked many senators who now are asking FCC to initiate an investigation into the matter. In that report Motherboard by paying an amount of $300 become successful to get the real time location of a target person with an accuracy of up to 500 meters from its original location.
“For the second time in six months, carriers are pledging to stop sharing American’s location with middlemen without their knowledge,” Senator Ron Wyden told Motherboard Thursday. “I’ll believe it when I see it. Carriers are always responsible for who ends up with their customers data—it’s not enough to lay the blame for misuse on downstream companies.”