TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AT&T Settles Customer Privacy Case With FCC

AT&T Settles Customer Privacy Case With FCC

News Wire (
Thu, 13 Jul 2006 13:44:22 -0500

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

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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