Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business News

Verizon is tracking users, big time: The FCC is taking note

Wireless companies have used tracking cookies to target advertising to you for quite some time, but Verizon has gone above and beyond with supercookies.

verizon

verizon

Verizon users’ every move has been tracked and stored

By now, you may have heard that every move you have made on your Verizon Wireless smartphone was being tracked by “supercookies.” Worse yet, users had no way to opt of of being tracked. Now, after these supercookies have become public knowledge, the FCC is looking into whether or not the program violated federal guidelines.

bar
I don’t know about you, but I would feel pretty violated by these terms, regardless of what the FCC finds.

As The Hill reported, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler recently sent letters to various U.S. Senators who had expressed concerns about Verizon supercookies, which attaches an invisible header to all outgoing web traffic on your phone.

FCC Chairman looking at the supercookies

Wheeler noted that telecommunications companies are required to protect sensitive user information under the terms of the Communications Act and as new technologies emerge, the commission routinely evaluates its rules; however, the commission has taken a specific interest in supercookies.

“We are looking specifically into carriers’ injection of header information and the collection and use of information about their subscribers’ Internet activity,” Wheeler wrote. “As you suggest, we will be considering the extent to which our rules and policies relating to consumer privacy, data security and transparency may be implicated.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This “tool,” as Verizon calls it, employs uses a unique identifier header, (UIDH) that follows wireless subscribers’ Internet browsing in order to allow websites to identify the user. It helps Verizon target certain ads to specific demographics. However, as the Consumerist points out, “unlike regular site tracking code, clearing out your cookies and upping your privacy settings doesn’t do anything about these. And they build a comprehensive, unique, entirely trackable history of basically everything you’ve ever Googled or visited on your phone.”

Say what? This is a bit disturbing. Consider though, that AT&T engaged in a similar tracking program, but discontinued it in 2014.

Verizon continues to track users

Verizon continues to use the supercookies, but users now have the ability to opt out. To opt out, which I would strongly recommend, log into the Verizon website and adjust your setting under “customer privacy settings” and then navigate to “relevant mobile advertising.” This will get rid of the supercookie.

The Consumerist also suggests opting out of two additional programs: CPNI setting and Business and Marketing Reports. You can also call 1-866-211-0874 to opt out of the RMA program.

For everyone else, this is a reminder to read your privacy policies before clicking “accept.” Otherwise, companies could have carte blanche over your personal information.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

#SuperCookies

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Uncover the cookie monster hidden in your computer - AGBeat

  2. Gabe Sanders

    April 13, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Luckily, I’m on Sprint. I wonder if they are doing anything like this?

  3. Pingback: Verizon harshly boots grandfathered data hogs - The American Genius

  4. Pingback: Verizon will test crazy fast 5G, said to be faster than Google Fiber - The American Genius

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) Amazon is enabling the Sidewalk option on home devices, which is alarming from a privacy perspective under the guise of strengthening your...

Tech News

[TECH NEWS] Oculus produces one of the best VR headsets on the planet, but the company's partnership with Facebook may destroy their reputation and...

Business Marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Verizon just recently joined with other communication companies for the "Keep Americans Connected" initiative, and yet they cancel in home installations.

Business News

(BUSINESS NEWS) Verizon is rolling out new plans with claims of unlimited data but how unlimited is it really?

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.