It seems that back in 2006, Verizon might have used information they had on their customers to create targeted marketing campaigns without informing them of their right to opt out from these campaigns. However it seems that it was only in 2013 that the FCC had discovered Verizon’s violation, which was thanks to Verizon’s own representatives who discovered it a little too late. According to Travis LeBlanc, the Acting Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau via the FCC’s website, “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. 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.”
Verizon Communications has agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission $7.4 million to settle an investigation into the company’s use of consumers’ personal information for marketing purposes. This is the largest such payment the FCC has ever received in an investigation related solely to the privacy of telephone customers’ personal information. The settlement comes as the FCC is trying to look like it’s being tough on wireless phone companies. In late July, the commission sent Verizon a strongly worded letter in which Chairman Tom Wheeler said he was “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s decision to expand its network-management policy that targets customers of its unlimited data plans. Chairman Wheeler has come under fire from fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill, as well as consumer groups and even comedians like John Oliver, for bowing too much to the will of big broadband companies, as his agency attempts to redraft new Net neutrality rules. The rules are designed to replace regulation that a federal court threw out earlier this year. Critics have been especially unhappy with the chairman for drafting a proposal to reinstate Open Internet rules that they claim would allow broadband companies to pay for priority access to networks, creating so-called Internet fast lanes.