Reports suggest that users of mobile and Wi-Fi services are at risk due to service providers gathering and keeping data on their location.
Two independent reports have been compiled, both of which indicate that some users are agreeing to have their location monitored without being aware of the risks. This data is then sold on to third parties.
The reports point out that service providers are not being clear with customers when they sign up to contracts about location tracking and about the selling on of information. Customers are also not informed that they can opt out of this if they wish. Some customers are told that the data collection is for security, but this is not true.
One report suggests that this data could be used by cyber criminals and burglars, for example, allowing them to find out when people are at home or on holiday. The report’s authors want to make it clear that consumers have the right to determine how their private data is used.
They are calling upon mobile and Wi-Fi service providers to offer clear policies on data security, explaining to consumers how their information is going to be used and who it is going to be used by. A campaign has now been started to raise awareness among users and to encourage them to demand that their providers improve transparency about data collection. Mobile providers will be encouraged to make their policies ‘opt-in’ instead of ‘opt-out’ to make this easier.