Verizon will pay a $1.3 5 million fine assessed by the Federal Communications Commission for using so-called “super cookies” that tracked users online and could not easily be erased.
Verizon will also make the tracking super cookies an opt-in feature. Previously the hidden code which wired called “zombie cookies” because it was hard to kill, was an opt-out feature.
The FCC said the feature was in violation of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule and Section 222 of the Communications Act.
The move by the FCC signals the more active role it plans to take to safeguard consumers privacy. The agency is preparing a proposal to outline how it will adapt its privacy regulation to the Internet era.
Thew settlement represents the second Open Internet enforcementaction taken by the FCC. In June 2015, the FCC proposed a $100 million fineagainst AT&T Mobility for misleading its customers about the data speed limits on its so-called “unlimited”mobile data plans.
“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,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement..
He added,“Privacy and innovation are not incompatible. This agreement shows that companiescan offer meaningful transparency and consumer choice while at the same time continuing to innovate. Wewouldliketo acknowledge Verizon Wireless’s cooperation during the course of thisinvestigation and its willingness to make changes to its practices for the benefitofits customers.”