AT&T Settles Customer Privacy Case With FCC

AT&T has agreed to settle two FCC enforcement actions with a one-time payment of $550,000 and a promise to enhance consumer privacy provisions.

The telecom giant hasn't formally admitted to breaking any law, but didn't deny claims that it failed to properly protect private customer information from so called "data brokers." AT&T has also reported failures in notifying customers of their privacy rights, including their right to opt out of certain internal marketing programs.

"AT&T has commendably self-reported some of its failures in its compliance mechanisms and has agreed to adopt a compliance plan so that consumers are appropriately notified" about FCC privacy rules, said FCC Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein, in a statement.

This settlement will likely relieve many consumers who want their data kept away from marketers, but it also raises question about the FCC's selective enforcement of consumer privacy rights.

It may be tempting to ask why the same FCC that was willing to follow through on these relatively minor violations is willing to allow the government itself to indiscriminately collect private customer details without restriction.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Yes, it would be very tempting to ask why the FCC came down on the one matter, while seemingly ignoring the other, more important issue. PAT]

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