Verizon Fined $1.35 Million by FCC in Mobile-Tracking Probe

  • Verizon to pay fine and tell customers more about tracking
  • Action comes as agency prepares broadband privacy rules

Verizon Communications Inc. was fined $1.35 million by U.S. regulators for failing to tell wireless customers about a technology that tracked them as they traveled from site to site on the Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission also said an advertising partner latched onto Verizon’s method for tagging customers.

The action comes as the FCC is poised to write rules for privacy that would govern Internet service providers including Verizon, AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week told lawmakers he hoped to offer a proposal “very soon and that includes this month.”

In a consent decree announced Monday by the FCC, Verizon agreed to tell customers more about how they are tracked, and to get their permission before beginning some tracking.

The FCC said it began its investigation in December 2014.

Verizon has made changes in its advertising program over the past year, and “today’s settlement with the FCC recognizes that,” Richard Young, a Verizon spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

The technology is known as supercookies. Verizon on its website said it uses the method to share customer information in advertising programs.

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