Commentary

FCC Fines Verizon $1.35 Million For Tracking Mobile Users With 'Supercookies'

Verizon has agreed to settle a Federal Communications Commission probe by paying a $1.35 million fine for using "supercookies" to track mobile customers for ad-targeting purposes.

The FCC investigation dates to December of 2014, shortly after it came to light that Verizon was inserting unique tracking headers into all unencrypted traffic on the mobile network. Ad networks were able to use those headers to send targeted ads to mobile users -- even when they tried to avoid tracking by deleting their cookies.

Verizon also promised to obtain subscribers' opt-in consent before sharing tracking headers with a third party for targeted ad purposes. Additionally, the company will allow consumers to opt out of having headers inserted into mobile traffic, and to opt out of having the headers used by an affiliated company.

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