Refunds for 300 Million Phone Users Sought in Lawsuits Over Location-Data Sales
The four major US wireless carriers are facing proposed class-action lawsuits accusing them of violating federal law by selling their customers’ real-time location data to third parties.
The complaints seeking class action status and financial damages were filed last week against AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in US District Court for the District of Maryland. The four suits, filed on behalf of customers by lawyers from the Z Law firm in Maryland, all begin with text nearly identical to this intro found in the suit against AT&T:
This action arises out of Defendant’s collection of geolocation data and the unauthorized dissemination to third-parties of the geolocation data collected from its users’ cell phones. AT&T admittedly sells customer geolocation data to third-parties, including but not limited to data aggregators, who in turn, are able to use or resell the geolocation data with little or no oversight by AT&T. This is an action seeking damages for AT&T gross failure to safeguard highly personal and private consumer geolocation data in violation of federal law.
The proposed classes would include all of the four carriers’ customers in the US between 2015 and 2019. In all, that would be 300 million or more customers, as the lawsuits say the proposed classes consist of at least 100 million customers each for AT&T and Verizon and at least 50 million each for Sprint and T-Mobile. Each lawsuit seeks damages for consumers “in an amount to be proven at trial.”