Commissioners still doing their best to ignore bounty hunter stalking scandal

Analysis America's comms regulator has finally pinky-promised to at least consider people's privacy when it looks into how cellphone location data can be made more accurate.

The critical topic was added following an intervention from new commissioner Geoffrey Sparks, after a campaign by privacy advocates who were stunned to find not a single mention of the word "privacy" in a 32-page outline document.

Bounty hunters, private dicks, and similar bods were using a loophole in the system to pay a few hundred dollars, or even posing as cops to skip any charges, to get timely location data on specific cellphone numbers – typically people who had skipped bail, but it could be anyone – despite the fact that such data is supposed to strongly protected given its enormous potential for abuse.

But rather than address the scandal, all five FCC commissioners continue to ignore the topic, making only broad references to privacy and claiming to have no knowledge of the underlying issues beyond "press reports" that they have seen.

What makes the omission of privacy concerns all the more egregious is the fact that last time the FCC strengthened location data requirements, the exact same concerns were raised and resulted in rules that are currently in place – which mobile companies and/or third-parties are skirting for profit.

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