In its largest privacy and data security enforcement action to date, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reached a $25 million settlement with AT&T Services, Inc. in connection with the unauthorized disclosure of confidential consumer information.
According to an investigation conducted by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, personnel at AT&T call centers in Mexico, Columbia and the Philippines disclosed confidential information of approximately 280,000 U.S. customers. Disclosed information reportedly included customers’ names, full or partial Social Security numbers, and other protected customer account data. The information was then provided to unauthorized third parties who used the information to support the illegal trafficking of stolen cell phones, or to unlock cell phones slated for sale on the secondary market.
Under the terms of a Consent Decree, AT&T will pay a $25 million civil penalty. The company will also be required to notify those customers whose confidential information was improperly accessed, and to provide them with credit monitoring services. Finally, AT&T will be required to implement extensive safeguards against future such breaches and to file regular compliance reports with the FCC.