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Verizon to Pay FCC $1.35M Fine Over Supercookies

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Mar 7, 2016, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Mar 7, 2016, 12:31 PM

Verizon will pay the FCC a fine of $1.35 million to settle claims the company's wireless business violated customer privacy. The FCC says between 2012 and 2014, Verizon Wireless did not adequately disclose to customers how it used supercookies to gather user data. The cookies created individual tracking codes for the purposes of targeted advertising. Moreover, supercookies often overrode some consumers' decisions to prevent cookies from accessing their browsers. Verizon Wireless also agreed to a three-year consent decree from the FCC. Moving forward, the company must notify customers about targeting advertising and obtain an explicit opt-in before sharing data internally and with third parties. "Consumers care about privacy and should have a say in how their personal information is used, especially when it comes to who knows what they’re doing online," said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. "Privacy and innovation are not incompatible. This agreement shows that companies can offer meaningful transparency and consumer choice while at the same time continuing to innovate."

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