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Comcast Settles VoIP Charges for $33M

Comcast has agreed to settle with the State of California over allegations it published the contact info—names, phone numbers, addresses—over a two-year period of approximately 76,000 Xfinity Voice VoIP subs who had paid for unlisted numbers.

That is according to the office of California attorney general Kamala Harris, which said $25 million of the settlement will go to penalties and the cost of the investigation and another $8 million in restitution to customers.

The info was published by a third-party vendor (Targus, now Neustar), and the state concedes making the names public had been a mistake, a matter of not Comcast not flagging the numbers as nonpublished after a systemwide account number change. 

Comcast has promised to improve its handling of customer complaints for one thing, and better monitor its vendors' use of personal customer information.

Each of the customers will get $100—credit for current customers, a check for former—with additional compensation for those with safety concerns about release of the info, including law enforcement and victims of domestic abuse.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Attorney General’s office that brings this matter to closure," Comcast said in a statement. "While this matter was operationally resolved nearly three years ago, it has always been our goal to find a solution that works for all parties and for the customers who were impacted by this error. We value and work hard to protect our customers’ privacy, and we apologize to anyone who was impacted by this.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.