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Unlikely hero emerges amid dark times for privacy, security

Caroline Craig | Nov. 3, 2014
In a world awash with cyber crime and corporate doublespeak, recent FCC actions are a small cause to celebrate.

While most carriers throttle data at times in congested areas, AT&T was throttling subscribersregardless of network conditions. The FTC alleges that AT&T, "despite its unequivocal promises of unlimited data," was slowing speeds for customers using as little as 2GB of data in a billing period. 

AT&T, predictably, denies the allegations and says it has been "completely transparent with customers since the very beginning." But FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez maintains, "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited." How refreshing to hear straight talk in the face of corporate doublespeak -- from the government, no less!

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has been pressuring carriers over throttling of unlimited data for a while now -- causing Verizon to abandon its plan to throttle certain LTE users -- but it's nice to see the agency follow through with legal action.

The FCC also acted recently to defend the privacy of consumer data, levying a $10 million fine against two telecom companies that failed to safeguard users' personal information. The FCC says YourTel America and TerraCom collected Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, names, and drivers' license numbers from applicants to the government's Lifeline telephone subsidy program, and "failed to employ reasonable data security practices to protect consumers' personal information."

Rather than store the data securely or destroy it after users were done proving their eligibility, according to the FCC the companies "stored this personal information in clear, readable text on one or more servers that were accessible via the Internet."

In a world awash with cyber crime and corporate double-dealing, these may seem small victories. But consumers will take what treats are offered. Happy Halloween! 

Source: InfoWorld

 

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