Comcast to Pay $26M for Improper Personal Data Disposal

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By Donald Aplin

Dec. 16 — Comcast Cable Communications LLC Dec. 14 agreed to pay California nearly $26 million to settle a hazardous waste disposal enforcement action that also included allegations of improper disposal of personal data (California v.Comcast Cable Commc'ns, LLC, Cal. Super. Ct., docket number unavailable, stipulated for final judgment filed 12/15/15).

The state concurrently filed a complaint against Comcast in the Alameda County Superior Court.

Although the investigation was primarily centered on the alleged improper disposal of hazardous materials, it “also uncovered that Comcast discarded documents containing sensitive customer information, including names, addresses and phone numbers, into the trash without shredding them or making them unreadable, potentially exposing the information to identity thieves,” the California Office of the Attorney General said in a statement.

The state has settled personal data disposal charges in conjunction with hazardous waste claims in other cases, including with grocer Safeway Inc. over improper disposal of health information (5 Privacy Law Watch, 1/8/15)(14 PVLR 74, 1/12/15).

Independent Audit

Under the proposed settlement, Comcast will hire an independent auditor to conduct three audits of its customer privacy compliance over the next five years

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris (D) and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley agreed to the settlement for the state. Latham & Watkins LLP and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP represented Comcast.

In September, Comcast agreed in the same superior court to pay $33 million to the state to settle allegations that over a two-year period, it posted online the names, addresses and phone numbers of approximately 75,000 customers who paid for unlisted voice over Internet protocol phone service (182 Privacy Law Watch, 9/21/15)(14 PVLR 1759, 9/28/15)(2015 TLN 20, 10/1/15)(20 ECLR 1319, 9/23/15)(See previous story, 09/21/15).

To contact the reporter on this story: Donald G. Aplin in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jimmy H. Koo at