According to a press release issued by the Federal Communications Commission, Verizon has been hit with a major penalty of $7.4 million that the wireless carrier has agreed to pay to the United States Treasury in relation to violations of wireless subscriber's privacy related to marketing violations.
According to the statement, the FCC Enforcement Bureau investigated the incident dating back to 2006, where Verizon reportedly utilized personal informaton of some of its wireless customers to market extra services to them. At the same time, Verizon failed to inform the customers that they had the ability to opt-out.
"In today’s increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform customers of their privacy choices and then to respect those choices,” said Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “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."
It turns out that Verizon found out about the situaton in September of 2012, and the FCC was informed of it in January of 2013 after some Verizon Wireless representatives tipped them off that something was amiss. With Verizon failing to generate the proper documentation or warnings to subscribers, and for other violations, Verizon has agreed to pay $7.4 million to the U.S. Treasury. And now, moving forward, the Big Red wireless carrier will also put information regarding targeted media and data collection, and ways to opt-out, on every single bill.