3 Concerns Consumers Should Have About the Verizon/AOL Merger

3 Concerns Consumers Should Have About the Verizon/AOL Merger

In an interview with the Network Journal, Feld continues to assert that Verizon has already shown an alarming tendency to harvest private information from subscribers to bolster its foray into online advertising.

Net neutrality

In the past, Verizon has challenged the concept of net neutrality in court. The conglomerate stood to make a substantial amount of money before Open Internet protocols were ratified. But new regulations won’t change their opinion of the subject. It just means they’ll likely try to find a loophole to do business in a way that will give them a competitive advantage; regardless of whether it affects the public’s ability to easily access the internet without interference.

You don’t agree? That’s exactly what Verizon and Sprint did as it pertains to mobile cramming, when customers were billed millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party premium text messaging services.

In May, the FCC and the FTC slammed Sprint and Verizon with a collective $158 million in fines after the conclusion of an investigation over “mobile cramming” allegations, reported DigitalTrends. Verizon was fined $90 million, and Sprint $68 million. T-mobile and AT&T were also fined previously. When the agencies called the problem to their attention, the carriers agreed to halt the practice in 2013, but the settlements indicate that the companies continued the charges into 2014.

So what do you think? Do you think the #AOL2Verizon merger will limit privacy and free expression? Or is it just business as usual?