Editor in Chief
- Dec 30, 2010
- Reaction score
- Austin, TX
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?