Recently, the FCC settled with Verizon Wireless to resolve the investigation against Verizon into whether the company violated the FCC rules by inserting “supercookies” into consumers’ Internet traffic over its wireless network, as part of the company’s targeted advertising programs, while failing to reveal this practice to its customers or take appropriate measures to safeguard the information. "Supercookies", like those being used by Verizon and other organizations, make it less difficult for advertisers to reach a consumer with targeted ads across devices. It should be emphasized that "supercookies" themselves are not what the FCC is taking issue with, but rather the issues of disclosure and consent.
According to the settlement, Verizon will pay a $1.35 million fine, as well as take other actions to refrain from taking similar missteps in the future. Verizon agreed to notify consumers about its targeted-advertising programs and obtain the customers' consent before sharing the supercookie information with third parties or internally. Moreover, under the settlement, Verizon must only generate Unique Identifier Headers of a customer through methods that comply with reasonable and accepted security standards.
This is the first time that the FCC has fined a company for using "supercookies", which are inserted into mobile web traffic in order to assist companies deliver targeted advertisements. This case should serve as a reminder to all telecommunications and broadband providers to take affirmative action and adopt policies, procedures and practices, in order to ensure compliance with FCC regulation.