AT&T ordered to pay record $25 million after call-center workers sold customer data

An AT&T Logo is pictured on the side of a building in Pasadena, California, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniThomson ReutersAn AT&T Logo is pictured on the side of a building in Pasadena

The Federal Communications Commission reached a $US25 million settlement with AT&T Inc over a consumer data breach at call centres in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines, the U.S. communications regulator said on Wednesday.

The breaches led to unauthorised disclosure of names and full or partial Social Security numbers and illegal access to account information of about 280,000 U.S customers of AT&T, a senior FCC official told reporters on a conference call.

The data was used by call center employees to request handset-unlock codes for AT&T phones and shared with third parties who seem to have been trafficking stolen cell phones, the official said. The breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014.

AT&T said in a statement: “Unfortunately, a few of our vendors did not meet that standard and we are terminating vendor sites as appropriate. We’ve changed our policies and strengthened our operations.”

The $US25 million civil penalty levied on the No. 2 wireless carrier is the largest data security enforcement action to date, the FCC official added.

In October, the FCC imposed a $US10 million fine on telecom companies TerraCom and YourTel for consumer privacy breaches.

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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