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Another buzzkill reminder about modern life in a society with a government that seemingly doesn’t care enough to protect its people. Corporations that think nothing about its customers privacy as long as a dollar can be made selling it?

As much as I think the causes are clear, i.e, weak, indecisive, or, corrupt government, that doesn’t pass, nor enforce the laws, I do believe, we as citizens have a responsibility to at least stay as informed as possible, to be equipped to manage our privacy or data with some degree of effort. This is a responsibility with “us,” as users of technology, and seekers of knowledge.

I read a lot of articles such as these. Not just because I’m interested in technology and modern communication, but, because it is part of everyday life. I find that important to recognize and point out. Not everyone else does. Why not?

There is a meaty argument about literacy and educational levels having a direct impact on why, and how, so much apathy and passiveness pervades the masses in this country. Not just about politics, for instance (longstanding), but, modern issues such as this one. Virtually sanctioned invasion of our private lives by big business, or anyone else they sell it off to.

I’m not trying to veer to far afield on this, but, I believe that passiveness, apathy, and cynicism are the triumvirate at the core of what we have wrought on ourselves with technology today. It deserves a whole other essay to discuss. 

I know it sounds bad, but, I believe there’s still enough people who are not handicapped by this paralysis to fight back, to make a difference. So why don’t we? Don’t we care…enough? Don’t we believe it…matters? Do we just move on, and conclude that these sorts of things are hopeless struggles against big business and corrupt governments?

It’s such an easy argument. It’s so easy to accept. But its a mistake. 

Cynicism is not the foe of big business and bad government. It’s the friend of both. Cynicism does not inhibit and curtail more of the same behavior. It stimulates and grows more of it, because it breeds passivity. This is going to be a big battle, if it ever does come from the “people”. The real war from here on is not about brother against brother. That’s a mere distraction, a diversion to cultural coffee table feuds. The real war is right here in this article, multiplied by a hundred more that are written and acted out every day. Big money, big business, big tech, and a bought and paid for government. At some point, we all have to ask ourselves the famous question. Are we part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Related links:

Despite promises to stop, US cell carriers are still selling your real-time phone location data

Over 200 bounty hunters bought data ‘tens of thousands of times’] User location data sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint is making its way to bounty hunters, says report

Carriers Swore They’d Stop Selling Location Data. Will They Ever?

Carriers selling your location to bounty hunters: it was worse than we thought

Below is a pasted in article from the NYTimes:

Why It’s So Easy for a Bounty Hunter to Find You

Wireless companies sell your location data. Federal regulators should stop them.

By Geoffrey Starks
Mr. Starks is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

April 2, 2019

When you signed up for cellphone service, I bet you didn’t expect that your exact location could be sold to anyone for a few hundred dollars. The truth is, your wireless carrier tracks you everywhere you go, whether you like it or not. When used appropriately, this tracking shouldn’t be a problem: location information allows emergency services to find you when you need them most.

But wireless carriers have been selling our data in ways that allows it to be resold for potentially dangerous purposes. For instance, stalkers and abusive domestic partners have used location data to track, threaten and attack victims. This industrywide practice facilitates “pay to track” schemes that appear to violate the law and Federal Communications Commission rules.

Companies are collecting and profiting from our private data in hidden ways that leave us vulnerable. As you carry your phone, your wireless carrier records its location so calls and texts can reach you. And you can’t opt out of sharing location data with your carrier, as you can with a mobile application. Your carrier needs this data to deliver service. But, according to recent news reports, this real-time phone location data has long been available to entities beyond your wireless carrier, for a price. In one alarming example, reported by Vice, a bounty hunter was able to pay to track a user’s location on a map accurate to within a few feet. In another case, a sheriff in Missouri used location data provided by carriers to inappropriately track a judge.

In other words, an ability that seems to come right out of a spy movie is now apparently available to just about anybody with your phone number and some cash. The pay-to-track industry has grown in the shadows, outside of the public eye and away from the watch of regulators.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, first raised the alarm last year, sending a letter to the F.C.C. on May 8 demanding an investigation into abuses by the pay-to-track industry. The Times reported on the issue the same week. Senator Wyden also demanded answers from the major wireless carriers. After that, the top wireless companies said that bounty hunters and others would no longer have access to their customers’ locations.

But months later the reports continue. Other recent articles suggest that highly accurate GPS location information from our phones — which, according to F.C.C. rules, should be used to send help to 911 callers — is still available on a location-data black market. Since then, wireless companies have said they’ll stop selling our location information completely — eventually.

The misuse of this data is downright dangerous. The harms fall disproportionately upon people of color. According to the Pew Research Center, people of color rely more heavily on smartphones for internet access, so they create more of this data, which makes them more vulnerable to tracking. Researchers also know that location data can be used to target them with misinformation or voter suppression tactics. It can also lead to assumptions about a person’s race or income level, assumptions that can feed into discriminatory automated decision making.

What is the government doing to protect us? Congress passed laws years ago protecting this kind of information and entrusted the F.C.C. with the responsibility of enforcing them.

It is unquestionably the F.C.C.’s job to protect consumers and address risks to public safety. Our location information isn’t supposed to be used without our knowledge and consent and no chain of handoffs or contracts can eliminate the wireless company’s obligations. This is particularly true for the misuse and disclosure of GPS-based 911 location data — which is squarely against F.C.C. rules.

The F.C.C. says it is investigating. But nearly a year after the news first broke, the commission has yet to issue an enforcement action or fine those responsible. This passage of time is significant, as the agency usually has only one year to bring action to hold any wrongdoers accountable before the statute of limitations runs out. Some may argue that the F.C.C.’s authority to take action against wireless carriers for this activity has gotten weaker in recent years, with the repeal of consumer-focused privacy and net neutrality rules during the current administration. But I believe that the commission still has ample authority to address these egregious pay-to-track practices.

Federal action is long overdue. As a Democratic commissioner at the Republican-led agency, I can call for action, but the chairman sets the agenda, including deciding whether and how quickly to respond to pay-to-track schemes. The agency’s inaction despite these increasingly troubling reports speaks volumes and leaves our duty to the public unfulfilled. The F.C.C. must use its authority to protect consumers and promote public safety, and act swiftly and decisively to stop illegal and dangerous pay-to-track practices once and for all.