WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) — The FCC has ordered Verizon to pay a $1.35 million fine, as well as adopt a three-year compliance plan as part of a settlement related to the wireless carrier’s use of ‘super cookies’.
Wireless giants Verizon and AT&T have used super cookies in the past — the technology inserts an undetectable and undeleteable tracking ID into a subscribers internet browser on their mobile device. The name ‘super cookie’ was dubbed because it’s more powerful than a typical web tracking cookie that users have the ability to delete.
Super cookies are unique identifier codes that attach to each website a user visits, ultimately creating a profile of their browsing history. They can contain however more than just your browsing history, such as authentication details & ad-targeting data. They have the ability to do so even when you are browsing in ‘private mode’.
Both AT&T and Verizon disclosed the technology to the FCC in Aug. 2014, however, the FCC determined that Verizon had been using the technology as early as 2012.
“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 prepared statement. “Privacy and innovation are not incompatible.”
AT&T abandoned the usage of super cookies in Nov. 2012, but Verizon continued using the program, ultimately allowing subscribers to opt out in April 2015. The FCC said Verizon has agreed to notify its customers about its targeted advertising programs and will obtain users’ opt-in consent before sharing data from super cookies with third-party partners.