The practice of tracking subscribers’ personal details such as phone number, location and other details seems to be still alive. As you may remember last year, Verizon was penalized by the FCC because the company was injecting information clandestinely into its subscribers’ traffic, which enabled the company to track their personal details.
This possibility was found by the co-founder of Shotwell Labs, Philip Neustrom who reported it in a blog post. In this regard, he discovered a couple of website which once visited from a phone data connection, promptly report back, several details such as full name, current location (obtained from cell phone tower), zip code and many more. Several other people also found the same things but depending on the mobile carrier they found it with slightly different results.
Now, it shouldn’t be assumed that the entire thing is a kind of huge scam, sometimes that data can be quite useful, for instance, an administrator may use this data for ensuring that an employee’s phone is in the correct location as his/her IP appears to indicate. So, this can be useful and easy way to track employees. Many companies like Payfone and Danal are using this technique.
However, this technique may be used for fraudulent purposes, like scammers can use it. Also, mobile companies may sell subscribers’ data to anyone who pays for it.
Rigorous consent standards should be established to stop this practice as without strong standards companies may also be selling data indiscriminately in the same way they were practicing before advocacy groups took them for doing this.
For now, there doesn’t seem to be clear and present danger such as explicit scammer or wholesaler utilizing this technique. But in absence of appropriate standards it may result in unwanted consequences.