by CIO Staff

FCC May Fine AT&T, Alltel

Jan 31, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

On Monday, communications regulators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed $100,000 fines for both AT&T and Alltel, alleging that the companies did not provide proper safeguards for their customers’ personal records, Reuters reports.

The proposed fines come amid an array of lawsuits filed by telecommunications providers against data brokers they claim illegally obtained and sold customer call records.  Due in part to the recent legal actions, the FCC has ordered a number of carriers to submit by Feb. 6 their most recent certifications that prove they have complied with federal regulations for protecting customer data.

The FCC accused both AT&T and Alltel of failing to certify a company employee with firsthand knowledge of the procedures in place to protect sensitive data.  The new AT&T, which was recently restructured when SBC Communications purchased the old AT&T, only had certification for an individual within SBC and not for the old AT&T, the FCC said.

“AT&T had the systems and procedures in place to protect customer data,” said Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesperson.  He said the company was simply unable to locate the certificate for the old AT&T.

Alltel only sent a statement describing the ways it uses customer data, not how it safeguards it, the FCC said.

Alltel representatives declined to comment.

A number of lawmakers within the House and Senate are proposing legislation to address the issue, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday.

For CIO coverage of the recent lawsuits filed by phone carriers against data brokers read T-Mobile Aims to Stop Call Record Sales, Temporary Protection for T-Mobile Customers, Wireless Data Brokers Sued By Sprint Nextel and Sprint Nextel Sues 2nd Company Over Sale of Records.

-Al Sacco