U.S. telecom giant Verizon has agreed to pay a $7.4 million fine to settle a probe into its privacy practices, including accessing customer data for marketing purposes, officials said Wednesday.
The Federal Communications Commission said Verizon failed to notify some two million of its landline customers about how their personal data would be accessed and used.
Verizon also agreed to notify customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years, the FCC said.
“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 FCC acting enforcement chief Travis LeBlanc.
“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.”
The FCC said companies like Verizon collect an array of sensitive personal information about their customers, like billing and location data, and are required under U.S. law to protect the privacy of that information.
While Verizon did provide “opt out” notices to some customers, the company failed to do this for some two million subscribers starting in 2006.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]