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Media Contact: 
Will Wiquist, (202) 418-0509
For Immediate Release
Verizon Wireless to Obtain Affirmative Consent from Consumers 
Before Sending Unique Identifier Headers to Third Parties
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2016 – The Federal Communications Commission today announced a 
settlement resolving an investigation into Verizon Wireless’s practice of inserting unique 
identifier headers or so-called “supercookies” into its customers’ mobile Internet traffic without 
their knowledge or consent.  These unique, undeletable identifiers – referred to as UIDH – are 
inserted into web traffic and used to identify customers in order to deliver targeted ads from 
Verizon and other third parties.  As a result of the investigation and settlement, Verizon Wireless 
is notifying consumers about its targeted advertising programs, will obtain customers’ opt-in 
consent before sharing UIDH with third parties, and will obtain customers’ opt-in or opt-out 
consent before sharing UIDH internally within the Verizon corporate family. 
“Consumers care about privacy and should have a say in how their personal information is used, 
especially when it comes to who knows what they’re doing online,” said FCC Enforcement 
Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc.  “Privacy and innovation are not incompatible.  This agreement 
shows that companies can offer meaningful transparency and consumer choice while at the same 
time continuing to innovate. We would like to acknowledge Verizon Wireless’s cooperation 
during the course of this investigation and its willingness to make changes to its practices for the 
benefit of its customers.”
In December 2014, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau launched an investigation into whether 
Verizon Wireless failed to appropriately protect customer proprietary information and whether the 
company failed to disclose accurate and adequate information regarding its insertion of UIDH into 
consumer Internet traffic over its wireless network, in violation of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet 
Transparency Rule and Section 222 of the Communications Act. The Bureau’s investigation 
found that Verizon Wireless began inserting UIDH into consumer Internet traffic as early as 
December 2012, but failed to disclose this practice until October 2014. 
After acknowledging its use of UIDH, Verizon Wireless asserted that third-party advertising 
companies were unlikely to use these so-called “supercookies” to build consumer profiles or for 
any other purpose.  In January 2015, however, news reports claimed that a Verizon Wireless 
advertising partner used UIDH for unauthorized purposes – restoring cookie IDs that users had 
cleared from their browsers by associating them with Verizon Wireless’s UIDH, in effect 
overriding customers’ privacy choices.  The following month, Verizon Wireless acknowledged 
the concerns raised by these news reports and committed to work with its partners to address the 
It was not until late March 2015, over two years after Verizon Wireless first began inserting 
UIDH, that the company updated its privacy policy to disclose its use of UIDH and began to offer 
consumers the opportunity to opt-out of the insertion of unique identifier headers into their 
Internet traffic.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company must also pay a fine of $1,350,000 and adopt a 
three-year compliance plan.
Section 222 of the Communications Act imposes a duty on carriers to protect their customers’ 
proprietary information and use such information only for authorized purposes.  It also expressly 
prohibits carriers that obtain proprietary information from other carriers for the provision of 
telecommunications services to use such information for any other purpose. Section 8.3 of the 
Commission’s rules, known as the Open Internet Transparency Rule, requires every fixed and 
mobile broadband Internet access provider to publicly disclose accurate information regarding the 
network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet 
access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services 
and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain 
Internet offerings.
Today’s settlement represents the second Open Internet enforcement action taken by the FCC.  In 
June 2015, the FCC proposed a $100 million fine against AT&T Mobility for misleading its 
customers about the data speed limits on its so-called “unlimited” mobile data plans.
The Verizon Wireless Order and Consent Decree are available at:
Office of Media Relations: (202) 418-0500
TTY: (888) 835-5322
Twitter: @FCC
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes 
official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).