Verizon will pay $7.4 million to settle with FCC over consumer privacy investigation

Lifestyle and BudgetAssociated Press

Verizon will pay $7.4 million to settle with The Federal Communications Commission over allegations that it used customers' personal information for marketing purposes

The FCC found that Verizon Communications Inc. failed to notify about 2 million new customers of their privacy rights on first invoices or welcome letters for several years beginning in 2006. That includes how to opt out from having personal information used in marketing campaigns. Verizon itself didn't discover the problem until 2012, and after that it failed to notify the FCC for about four months, until January 2013.

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In addition to paying $7.4 million Verizon will notify customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years.

"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.

The FCC said the fee, being paid to the U.S. Treasury, is the largest such payment in FCC history for settling an investigation related solely to the privacy of telephone customers' personal information.