Back in 2006, Verizon used customer information from 2 million customers in order to create targeted marketing campaigns. While such a strategy isn’t a novel idea, Verizon committed the one mistake companies would likely wish they could get away with — not notice its customers that they could opt out of the campaigns. As a result, the FCC slapped Verizon with a $7.4 million fine.
The FCC caught wind of Verizon’s privacy violations in 2013 when Verizon voluntarily came forward after it determined that “a subset of its customer, small business and medium business customers did not receive the opt-out notice on their initial bill.” Verizon and the FCC agreed on the fine, with Big Red agreeing to strengthen its processes and to provide information to customers regarding how to opt out from such programs over the next three years.
While $7.4 million is unlikely to dent Verizon’s bottom line, it could be seen as a warning for other companies to take notice. If such a fine would be issued to a smaller marketer or company, it would likely cripple it.