FCC fines Verizon Wireless $1.35 million for privacy violations

The FCC fined Verizon Wireless $1.35 million for privacy violations. Verizon was using “supercookies,” a method of tracking its users’ mobile Internet traffic for advertising purposes. They are invisible to users and almost impossible for users to avoid. Following an investigation, the Commission found that Verizon’s supercookies were an invasion of privacy, and is requiring Verizon to notify its customers of the practice and obtain customer opt-in moving forward.


“Consumers care about privacy and should have a say in how their personal information is used, especially when it comes to who knows what they’re doing online,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “Privacy and innovation are not incompatible.”


Launched in December 2012, the FCC Enforcement Bureau investigation found that Verizon began using supercookies to track customers’ mobile Internet traffic as early as December 2012, but failed to let customers know it was doing so until October 2014, almost two years later.

FCC Settles Verizon “Supercookie” Probe, Requires Consumer Opt-In for Third Parties (FCC, Mar. 7, 2016)

 

FCC cracks down on Verizon Wireless for using ‘supercookies’ (Washington Post, Mar. 7, 2016)