AT&T is about to hit a bunch of bad publicity. The company has been fined $25 million dollars as part of a settlement for stealing customer data from three international call centers, according to CNET. The fine comes from the Federal Communications Center, which monitors cell phone and internet companies. The data breach itself didn't happen in the United States, instead it was in Mexico, Colombia, and the Phillipines and "and involved the unauthorized disclosure of almost 280,000 U.S. customers' names, full or partial Social Security numbers and unauthorized access to protected account-related data." The information was then used to unlock stolen phones, a majority of them iPhones, and were also sold to third parties. There is no word if that has to do with the uptick in telemarketer calls to cell phone users.
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The case marks the largest settlement the FCC has ever come across, and many suspect they hit even harder as US citizens are worrying more and more about their privacy. "As the nation's expert agency on communications networks, the commission cannot -- and will not -- stand idly by when a carrier's lax data security practices expose the personal information of hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans to identity theft and fraud," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler explained.
The company has since promised that they changed their policies: "Protecting customer privacy is critical to us," they wrote. "We hold ourselves and our vendors to a high standard. Unfortunately, a few of our vendors did not meet that standard and we are terminating vendor sites as appropriate."
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The company is also required to notify all people who had their personal information stolen. They are also taking other steps to prevent something like this from happening again.