Verizon Involved in New Stink: Tracking Users Online with Insecure Technique

dgstorm

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Verizon is no stranger to irritating their customers. Their latest outrage spreading across the web is related to Big Red's new practice of tagging and tracking its subscribers’ Internet traffic using individual identifiers as part of an advertising initiative. Basically, the gist of it is that specific websites which you traffic include Cookies on their site to track your internet habits and send you ads related to your personal habits.

For the most part, Cookies typically can't be read on their own and can only be read by the site that created them. That isn't the case with Verizon's Cookies, and that is the wrinkle that has everyone rankled. Verizon's tag identifiers track your browsing habits across the entire web. Not only is it a big invasion of privacy, it's also far less secure because this type of Cookie can apparently be intercepted and read by hackers/malware much easier than the typical Cookie.

It's also worth noting that none of the other ISPs do this for these very reasons (although AT&T is testing out something similar). Verizon does have an opt-out policy that you can activate by logging into your account’s privacy settings on the Web or by using the My Verizon app on some phones. Alternatively you can call 866-211-0874 to opt out there. But of course, this assumes that folks out there even know about it, and, let's be real... how often do we actually read those "TL;DR" notices that get sent to us in the mail? Furthermore, even if you do opt-out, it doesn’t actually stop Verizon from inserting the identifying headers into your Web traffic! It only tells them not to use the data.

Ultimately, it seems a bit fishy, and may be a legitimate big deal. What do you think of this? Is it simply more of the same MO from Big Red, or is it a fresh atrocity that we should get really worked up over?

Source: Yahoo
 

tech_head

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You can't opt out of having the ID inserted. You can only opt out of the targeting ads. The only way not to be tracked is to always use a VPN connection. I use a VPN whenever I think about it.

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Str8Aro

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I am all in for consumer rights and an individual's privacy (if that exists anymore). The insertion of tracking id's into headers should be an opt-in - NOT an opt-out. Maybe most users don't care, i.e. the nod to "TL;DR" above. I read about the served ads in Verizon's notifications and immediately logged into my account and opted out. I guess it stopped the ads but Verizon still got the data. Data = $$$

I use a VPN too.
 

Yellowhammer

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. Verizon does have an opt-out policy that you can activate by logging into your account’s privacy settings on the Web or by using the My Verizon app on some phones. Alternatively you can call 866-211-0874 to opt out there.

I can't find this option via the web account.

***EDIT*** I found it. It's under "profile settings". There are two policies that you need to OPT-OUT of. See below:


Customer Proprietary Network Information Settings

As a provider of certain telecommunications services, Verizon Wireless collects certain information that is made available to us solely by virtue of our relationship with you, such as quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location and amount of use of the telecommunications services you purchase. This information and related billing information is known as Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI). The Federal Communications Commission and other regulators require the Verizon Companies to protect your CPNI.

Verizon Wireless shares information among our affiliates and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries unless you advise us not to. Sharing this information allows us to provide you with the latest information about our products and services and to offer you our latest promotions.


Business & Marketing Reports

Verizon Wireless may use mobile usage information and consumer Information for certain business and marketing reports. Mobile usage information includes the addresses or information in URLs (such as search terms) of websites you visit when you use our wireless service, the location of your device ("Location Information"), and your use of applications and features. Consumer information includes information about your use of Verizon products and services (such as data and calling features,device type, and amount of use) as well as demographic and interest categories provided to us by other companies (such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner). We will combine this information in a manner that does not personally identify you. 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. See ourFrequently Asked Questions for more information about these reports.
 

boidsonly

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The FCC should sue VZW-but it will not happen. Wheeler is too beholding to the industry. It will take an org. like the EFF to represent the consumer. This hit the media last week and very little has been done to cover it. I suggest you all not let this die-this is worse than anything Google is doing with your info....
 

Hodor

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Could you blunt the damage from this if you are rooted and use the xprivacy module to randomize your phone id?
 

Str8Aro

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VPN cost $, and I right? And you have to trust the VPN manager.

Yes, on both questions but some of the options are affordable. I have not met the folks that run the VPN that I use but so far, I haven't received any knocks on my door from the authorities. I don't use the service to download / upload content that doesn't belong to me, so I am good with the service that I have. I especially like it when I am on open WiFi at hotels, airports, shops, etc. Do a web search for 'VPN comparison' and you will find lots of posts to read about the companies that offer the services.
 
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