Verizon put an end to an ongoing FCC investigation today by agreeing to pay 7.4 million over privacy issues dating all the way back 2006. The company admitted to failing in its responsibility to tell millions of customers they could opt out of marketing studies using their personal information, and established a new system to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
In the past Verizon typically let customers know they could opt out of these studies in either their first official bill or a separate welcome letter. Moving forward the company says it plans to include that notice in every single bill it sends out for three straight years. Verizon also promised to establish a new system devoted to making sure those opt-out notices are actually sent to every customer.
For a massive company like Verizon that $7.3 million may not be very much, but it could still be a big deal for the industry. That’s the most the FCC has ever charged for this type of settlement, suggesting the government organization could be putting more emphasis on protecting our personal information. Hopefully that will be the case moving forward, though it’s tough to be too optimistic considering the current state of online privacy.