The five highest fines in April 2024

Five data protection fines in april 2024
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Holding tech giants to account: Current penalties for data breaches in the U.S.

Breaches of data protection are no trivial offense - especially not in the USA! In April, fines of between 7 and 80 million US dollars were imposed on five companies. What serious breaches of data protection law were committed.

  1. T-Mobile USA: 80,080,000 US dollars (74,701,492 euros) fine
  2. T-Mobile USA had to pay the highest amount by far. The fine was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on April 17, 2024 for violating 222 U.S.C. The accusation: The company had failed to protect the location data of its customers. The FCC initially imposed a fine of 91,630,000 US dollars, but later reduced this by 11,550,000 US dollars following comments from T-Mobile. In the end, the FCC and T-Mobile USA agreed on a fine of USD 80,080,000. The FCC's investigation revealed that T-Mobile had disclosed customer location information to third parties without their consent. This violated the protection of customer privacy enshrined in the Communications Act. The conclusion of the US data protection experts is: "This case underscores the need for telecommunications providers to strictly adhere to data protection regulations and to protect proprietary customer data".
    Source: FCC fine notice

  3. AT&T: 57,265,625 US dollars (53,419,426 euros) fine
  4. As part of the same investigation, the Federal Communications Commission also imposed a fine of USD 57,265,625 on AT&T on April 17, 2024. AT&T also sold its customers' location data to third parties without their consent. In addition, the telecommunications company did not adequately protect customer data.
    Source: FCC fine notice

  5. Verizon Communications: 46,901,250 US dollars (53,419,426 euros) Fines
  6. As part of the investigation, the Federal Communications Commission also imposed a fine of USD 46,901,250 on the telecommunications company Verizon Communications. Verizon Communications also sold its customers' location information to third parties without first obtaining their consent. Furthermore, Verizon Communications did not adequately protect its customers' data. "Wireless carriers have an obligation to protect our location data," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
    Source: FCC fine notice

  7. Sprint Corporation (T-Mobile USA): 12,240,000 US dollars (417,910 euros) Fine
  8. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission imposed a fine of USD 12,240,000 on Sprint Corporation, which is now part of the T-Mobile USA group. Here too, the data protection authority's investigation revealed that the company had passed on its customers' location data to third parties without their consent. Furthermore, the company had not taken appropriate measures to protect its customers' location data.
    Source: FCC fine notice

  9. Cerebral, Inc: 7,087,253 US dollars (650,950 euros) fine
  10. The fifth highest fine in April was also imposed in the USA. The online health service Cerebral, Inc. accepted a court order restricting the use or disclosure of sensitive consumer data and requiring the company to give consumers an easy way to cancel the service. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined the company $7 million for disclosing consumers' sensitive health and other personal information to third parties for advertising purposes and for failing to honor its commitments regarding an easy opt-out option. Cerebral allegedly shared sensitive information of nearly 3.2 million consumers with third parties such as LinkedIn, Snapchat and TikTok for advertising purposes by using or integrating tracking tools on its website or in its apps. These tracking tools collect data and send it to third parties so that they can provide advertising, data analytics or other services to the owners of the websites or apps.
    Source: Decision of the court

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