Wireless carrier Verizon has reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to resolve charges that the company illegally tracked consumers’ use of the Internet over its wireless network.
An investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau determined that Verizon inserted “unique identifier headers” (UIDHs, also known as “supercookies”) into the Internet activity of certain subscribers. Verizon allegedly used the headers to link with customer proprietary information in order to serve up targeted advertising.
According to the FCC, Verizon’s actions were potentially a violation of Section 222 of the Communications Act since they failed to protect customer proprietary information. Additionally, Verizon failed to notify customers of its actions and give them the opportunity to opt out of the targeted advertising program, a potential violation of the Commission’s Open Internet Transparency Rule.
In addition to payment of a financial penalty of $1.35 million, Verizon has also agreed to implement a compliance plan, and to provide the FCC with periodic reports over the next three years.