The FCC is planning to issue penalties to TerraCom and YourTel. Both companies are American carriers and have been found to have breach consumer privacy. The fine is totaling up to a staggering USD$10 million.
The FCC has never issued fines over data security. This is the first time the Commission is doing so and it marks the largest ever privacy enforcement in the FCC’s history. TerraCom and YourTel both disregarded actions to protect highly sensitive customer information. The list of information include addresses, driving license details, and social security numbers were left in a format that was easily accessible and could be read like an open book via the Internet. Why do the companies have such sensitive data? According to them, the data was required by the carriers to assess eligibility for the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program. This program offers discounted phone services for low-income consumers.
In addition to the already negligent conduct of the parties, both companies even failed to notify consumers of the security breach and this was after the companies were alerted of the breach! 305 000 consumers were left unaware that their private information was left bare for the world to see. They were not told that an update was needed or that they needed to start taking actions to ensure their information doesn’t fall in the wrong hands.
“Consumers trust that when phone companies ask for their Social Security number, driver’s license, and other personal information, these companies will not put that information on the Internet or otherwise expose it to the world,” Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau
It seems companies still refuse to learn from mistakes and take matters seriously when it comes to data protection. Hopefully, intervention from the FCC will wake these ignorant parties up.
Source: Android Authority