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Verizon Now Monitors, Shares User Web Surfing Info

By - Source: Los Angeles Times | B 38 comments

A new change in Verizon's privacy policy grants it the right to track user browsing habits, app usage and physical location.

Like the Eye of Sauron watching over the lands of Middle-earth, Wednesday Verizon Wireless announced that it is now tracking the location of subscriber devices, recording search terms and websites they visit via the wireless network, and recording their app and device feature usage. This information will supposedly be used to make mobile ads more relevant to subscribers, and to be used for "certain business and marketing reports."

In a statement announcing its privacy policy changes, Verizon said that it will also use information detailing subscriber use of Verizon products and services including data and calling features, device type, and amount of use. Demographic and interest categories provided to Verizon by other companies, such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner, will also be used.

"We will combine Mobile Usage Information and Consumer Information in a way that does not personally identify you," the company claims. "We will use this information to prepare business and marketing reports that we may use ourselves or share with others. We may also share Location Information with other companies in a way that does not personally identify you. We will allow these companies to produce limited business and marketing reports."

According to the privacy policy changes, all Verizon customers will be tracked by default. However, the company is offering subscribers a chance to opt out of the information tracking by heading here or by calling the wireless carrier directly at 1-866-211-0874. "You will receive mobile ads whether you participate or not, but under the advertising program, ads may be more relevant to you," the company adds.

As the Huffington Post points out, FCC rules on mobile privacy assert that wireless carriers must get permission from customers first if they want to use subscriber information for marketing purposes unless it's for "enhancements to services you already use." The LA Times also reports that every wireless carrier stores these types of data anyway although they all have different approaches to how the data is used or not used.

Just recently General Motors-owned OnStar came under fire for changing its Terms & Conditions. The changes granted it the right to keep a connection to an installed system active even if the subscription had been canceled. The changes also meant that OnStar could collect data including a vehicle's whereabouts and current speed, and sell/offer the information to law enforcement, credit card processors and more. However after a thorough lashing by consumers and government officials, OnStar reverted back to its original Terms & Conditions.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    meat81 , October 14, 2011 8:21 PM
    This should not be legal...
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    meat81 , October 14, 2011 8:21 PM
    This should not be legal...
  • 9 Hide
    thrasher32 , October 14, 2011 8:26 PM
    I can't wait to switch to Sprint the minute my Verizon contract is up.

    Eat it, Verizon.
  • Display all 38 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    fancarolina , October 14, 2011 8:36 PM
    Left Verizon for Sprint and have never looked back nor regretted it.
  • 7 Hide
    classzero , October 14, 2011 8:39 PM
    Ewww, and I was going to leave the Evil AT&T for them. Well time to look into Sprint.
  • 2 Hide
    ben850 , October 14, 2011 8:57 PM
    laughing_girls.bmp
  • 9 Hide
    legacy7955 , October 14, 2011 9:09 PM
    OUTRAGEOUS!

    The CEO and the BoD need to be FIRED IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!

    UNETHICAL, IMMORAL, AND INEXCUSABLE BEHAVIOR!


    Another rogue corporation that needs to be taught a lesson. All subscribers should cancel, and it won't cost you a cent in early termination fees because when terms change like this they cannot hold you if you refuse to agree to the new terms!!!
  • 7 Hide
    Area51 , October 14, 2011 9:12 PM
    I guess After AT&T buys tmoble the last safe and private Island is Sprint.
  • 1 Hide
    surda , October 14, 2011 9:24 PM
    "We will combine Mobile Usage Information and Consumer Information in a way that does not personally identify you,"

    such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner and share Location Information with other companies.

    well to me that identity's everything, i do not like the idea that im being watched using my own private phone, and then having these information shared with another companies.
  • 1 Hide
    klavis , October 14, 2011 9:26 PM
    meat81This should not be legal...


    According to the FCC it isn't legal, they are required to ask for permission before they do it, not do it then give people a way to opt out.

    Also, following the link, it seems that I have not been included in this scheme of theirs yet as it doesn't show this new "feature" as being on the privacy page. Has anyone else had that problem?
  • 2 Hide
    mayne92 , October 14, 2011 10:03 PM
    Just remember people...companies are only out for the best interest of their customers!!! /sarcasm
  • 5 Hide
    dark_knight33 , October 14, 2011 10:05 PM
    klavisAccording to the FCC it isn't legal, they are required to ask for permission before they do it, not do it then give people a way to opt out.Also, following the link, it seems that I have not been included in this scheme of theirs yet as it doesn't show this new "feature" as being on the privacy page. Has anyone else had that problem?



    What, you didn't catch that loophole big enough for a shuttle to fly through?

    Quote:
    ...Unless it's for "enhancements to services you already use."


    You didn't actually think the FCC worked for YOU (i.e. "We the people") did you? I'm not a gov't hater at all, but even I have to admit the FCC is one of the most corrupt watchdog entities in existence. Seriously, how can anyone say it's functioning, if an FCC big-wig can take a job with Comcast right after voting to approve it's billion dollar merger with NBC/universal? That's so corrupt that the people that are supposed to be watching the FCC should get arrested!
  • 0 Hide
    zozzlhandler , October 14, 2011 10:06 PM
    I hope all their chooks turn to emus and kick their dunny down flat to the grass...
  • 1 Hide
    mayne92 , October 14, 2011 10:06 PM
    klavisAccording to the FCC it isn't legal, they are required to ask for permission before they do it, not do it then give people a way to opt out.Also, following the link, it seems that I have not been included in this scheme of theirs yet as it doesn't show this new "feature" as being on the privacy page. Has anyone else had that problem?

    Mine was there. Opted out. Thanks for the link Kevin. But I'm sure being opted in by default is the same load of BS other companies use so it is "convenient" for the customer.
  • -4 Hide
    otacon72 , October 14, 2011 10:10 PM
    Took me 10 seconds to opt out....bunch of whiners in here. I already knew about it but I also just got an email from Verizon saying they were going to do it. Stop your bitching.
  • 0 Hide
    otacon72 , October 14, 2011 10:13 PM
    klavisAccording to the FCC it isn't legal, they are required to ask for permission before they do it, not do it then give people a way to opt out.Also, following the link, it seems that I have not been included in this scheme of theirs yet as it doesn't show this new "feature" as being on the privacy page. Has anyone else had that problem?



    Wrong... They just have to notify you that they are going to do it...which they did...got email from Verizon yesterday.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2011 11:09 PM
    Quote:
    only in usa...
    LOL! Seriously? Do you really think only usa will track your mobile data?
  • 1 Hide
    dormantreign , October 14, 2011 11:52 PM
    #OccupyVerizon.....Expect us.
  • 2 Hide
    xerroz , October 15, 2011 12:23 AM
    Thanks for the link, opted out immediately. Advertising is one of the biggest bullshits ever created, if I want something I will look for it myself, I don't want shit being crapped in front of me
  • 1 Hide
    livebriand , October 15, 2011 12:42 AM
    Seriously, VZW? If I wanted a smartphone, this makes me EVEN MORE want to go for an ipod touch sort of device (like the samsung galaxy player). Sheesh, and I thought it was bad to have to pay for a data plan...
  • 2 Hide
    livebriand , October 15, 2011 12:43 AM
    xerrozThanks for the link, opted out immediately. Advertising is one of the biggest bullshits ever created, if I want something I will look for it myself, I don't want shit being crapped in front of me

    No kidding! In fact, because when I start a certain radio stream, I keep getting Twizlers ads, I've decided to NEVER buy Twizlers. Great way to advertise - shove it in the customer's face so much that they no longer want to buy the product if at all possible.
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