On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission slapped Verizon with a $7.4 million fine for using personal cellular data to market to customers without their consent.
Verizon is accused of collecting detailed information about a customer’s calling habits, like how many calls they made, what services they subscribe to, what numbers they dialed, and their geographic location whenever they placed a call. According to the FCC, Verizon “failed to generate the required opt-out notices” as early as 2006, making 2 million of its customers unknowing participants in the carrier’s marketing plans. That data was then used to market Verizon’s services to new customers.
In addition to the fine, Verizon will have to design and implement a process that allows customers to opt out of the company’s data collection on every invoice they receive. The company will also have to develop a three-year compliance plan, and designate a senior corporate manager as a compliance officer to make sure that the FCC’s orders are carried out without any problems.