Today, Public Knowledge filed on behalf of over 7,500 individuals who want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect Americans from having their personal information shared by phone service providers. The signatures were obtained through petitions created by Public Knowledge and Common Cause. They were delivered to the FCC while President Obama delivered a speech ordering new limits today on the National Security Agency's (NSA's) bulk phone metadata collection program.
The filed petition followed on the heels of reports that AT&T was selling the records of customers' phone calls to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Public Knowledge found that all four major mobile carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) have privacy policies that indicate that it is okay to sell or share similar records.
Public Knowledge was joined on today's filing by the Benton Foundation, Center for Digital Democracy, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Common Cause, Consumer Action, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Free Press, the Center for Media Justice, the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, and U.S. PIRG.
The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“The comments we filed today demonstrate beyond doubt that Americans care about this issue. The FCC should address the public's concerns by making clear that phone companies have to get customers' consent before selling private call records.
“It's important that the FCC take action to protect Americans as technology advances and personal information continues to be transferred and stored by service providers. People should feel like their information is safe when they acquire a new service.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.