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Your location data: free to anyone with a Securus contract

For nearly a year, the FCC knew about Securus’s cellphone tracking and turned a blind eye.

by Aleks Kajstura, May 11, 2018

Abuse of power in the nation’s prison and jails is nothing new, but now correctional staff can target any person in the U.S. – as long as that person has a cell phone. Last night, The New York Times reported that Securus allows facility staff to track any cell phone in the country.

Securus has contracts with hundreds of correctional and law enforcement agencies across the country, meaning that staffers at any of these agencies can track you on a whim. Shouldn’t they at least have a warrant or affidavit if they want to track your cell phone? Absolutely – but Securus isn’t checking. What if you never even talked to anyone in any correctional facility? Securus doesn’t check on that, either.

As the Times reports, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the FCC asking them to investigate, as well as letters to phone companies like Verizon and AT&T, who provide the tracking data to Securus.

The thing is: the FCC already knew about this. When Securus was up for sale last year, Lee Petro, representing the Wright Petitioners, pointed to this very practice as a reason for the FCC to block the sale. But the FCC turned a blind eye.

Thanks to Senator Wyden’s letters, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are starting to ask their own questions. But it’s a sad day when the FCC has to rely on telecom giants to carry out its mandate.

Aleks Kajstura is Legal Director at the Prison Policy Initiative. (Other articles | Full bio | Contact)

One Response

  1. Susan says:

    Nevada, (Minden / Douglas County Jail uses Securus. My daughter in law was arrested for an old ticket she didn’t pay several years ago. She was given her free call but after the booking experience she had to call collect to see when she would be getting out.
    I listened to the recording which told me if I was to accept the call I would need to pay FOURTEEN DOLLARS for FIFTEEN MINUTES! I nearly hit the floor! Needless to say her exit time remained a surprise to her!
    Talk about gouging someone when they’re down! Shame on you Securus!

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