Verizon to pay $7.4M to settle US privacy probe

Summary:The multi-million settlement will end a federal privacy investigation, because the phone giant failed to notify customers of their opt-out marketing rights.

Image: Verizon via CNET/CBS Interactive

Verizon will shell out $7.4 million to end a consumer probe launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC, the federal regulator in charge of telecom companies, said in a statement that Verizon "failed" to notify about two million new customers of their privacy rights, including how to remove themselves from having their personal information used in marketing campaigns.

The U.S. phone giant has now agreed to notify customers on every bill for the next three years their opt-out rights.

FCC's Travis LeBlanc said in remarks: "It is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform customers of their privacy choices and then to respect those choices."

"It is plainly unacceptable for any phone company to use its customers' personal information for thousands of marketing campaigns without even giving them the choice to opt out," he added. 

The regulator added that the Verizon fine is the largest such payment in FCC history for settling an investigation related solely to the privacy of phone customers' personal data.

Topics: Networking, Government : US, Privacy


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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