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Broadband Roundup

Electronic Frontier Foundation Lawsuit Against Mobile Data Collection, and Fort Collins Fiber Network

Masha Abarinova



The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Tuesday that it is filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of AT&T customers in California to stop the telecom giant and two data location aggregators from allowing third parties to access wireless customers’ real-time locations without authorization.

The lawsuit alleges AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act and engaged in deceptive practices under California’s unfair competition law, as AT&T deceived customers into believing that the company was protecting their location data. The suit seeks money damages and an injunction against AT&T, as well as the involved location data aggregators, LocationSmart and Zumigo. The injunction would prohibit AT&T from selling customer location data and ensure that any location data already sold is returned to AT&T or destroyed.

An investigation by Motherboard earlier this year revealed that any cellphone user’s precise, real-time location could be bought for just $300. The report showed that carriers, including AT&T, were making this data available to hundreds of third parties without first verifying that users had authorized such access.

“AT&T and data aggregators have systematically violated the location privacy rights of tens of millions of AT&T customers,” said EFF Staff Attorney Aaron Mackey.

“To sell this information without any notification to users is deceptive, extraordinarily invasive of their privacy, and illegal,” said Thomas D. Warren, a partner at Pierce Bainbridge.

Fort Collins, Colorado, launches Connexion, a voter-approved broadband network

The Coloradoan reported that the city of Fort Collins is gearing up to launch Fort Collins Connexion, the voter-approved fiber-optic broadband network that promises high-speed internet service for every home and business.

Connexion will offer internet, phone and video services. An early business plan for the network projected charges of $70 per month for gigabit-per-second internet speed and $50 per month for 50-megabit speed.

On July 2, the city council gave initial approval to an ordinance allowing the utility to enter into long-term license contracts to acquire video content rights.

As consumers wait for solid pricing information from the city — and prepare to weigh it against what Comcast, CenturyLink and other service providers charge — Connexion contractors are continuing to run fiber optic cable around town. The city issued $143 million in bonds to pay for building out the network. The network will use 1,000 miles of fiber to reach the city’s 62,000 premises.