Verizon to pay $7.4M to settle US privacy probe

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

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  • the largest fine ever is far too small.

    And Customers should each get a refund.
    • Big Refund Due !

      Let's see........Verizon reported a customer base of $7.4M divided by 290M = $0.02.
      Your privacy is worth two cents !
  • Too Small

    $7.4 million seems small. They should have investigated how much money was made off of this privacy violation and fined twice that amount. If they are fined less then they made off of the violation then there is no insensitive to stop such practices.

    What about other businesses? Sometimes there is no opt out option. You may be able to opt out from Verizon sharing your personal data, but that iPhone or Android device you're using on Verizon you cant. If you read Apples privacy policy it states that they consider your location and your unique device identifier as non personal information that they can share with anyone. Obviously, Google as primarily an advertising company is even worse.