AT&T Slapped With Hefty $25 Million FCC Fine Stemming From Customer Data Theft

What value would you put on your personal information, such as your social security number? To me, that kind of information is invaluable, because in the wrong hands, your life can be made a living hell. But according to FCC, that information is worth about $90, based on the fact that it's just fined AT&T $25 million for the leak of personal data for 280,000 customers.

According to the report, the FCC mentions that "at least" the final four digits of the SSN were part of this leak, which does suggest that in some cases, the entire thing was let loose - and that's believable, because there's no reason to believe that complete SSNs were not stored in the database.

Flickr: Mike Mozart

This leak played out during parts of late 2013 and 2014, and involved muliple AT&T call centers in foreign countries that passed along all of the customer information to groups believed to be trafficking stolen or secondary-market phones. With the information in hand, these phones would be unlocked using the stolen information.

This $25 million fine is the largest one for privacy violations ever issued by the FCC, but with SSNs involved, I can't help but feel like the fine is still too low. I'm of the belief that SSNs should never be supplied to any company other than governmental or financial. It feels to me like it's time for the FCC to outright bar companies from asking for this information unless absolutely necessary, because the more leaks like this happen, the worse the effects are going to be.