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Privacy Communications

Verizon Wants To Share Your Personal Information 236

Posted by timothy
from the on-display-right-there-in-the-locked-cabinet dept.
hyades1 writes "Gizmodo reports that Verizon is sending out notification letters infested with virtually-indecipherable legalese. In their sneaky, underhanded way, they're informing you that you have 45 days to opt out of their plan to share your personal data with 'affiliates, agents and parent companies.' That data can include, but isn't limited to, 'services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info.' If you view your statement on-line, you won't even get the letter. You'll have to access your account and view your messages. However, Read Write Web says the link provided there, called the 'Customer Proprietary Network Information Notice,' was listed as 'not available.' No doubt Verizon would like to reassure you that everyone they're going to hand your personal data over to will have your best interests at heart."
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Verizon Wants To Share Your Personal Information

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  • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:37PM (#27113981)

    that i have AT&T and they won't ever try to abuse me.

    Excuse me now I have to go reset my sarcasm meter. for some reason it gets pegged all the time now.

    • Re:boy am I glad (Score:5, Informative)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:51PM (#27114065)

      i have AT&T and they won't ever try to abuse me.

      Ha ... I have Sprint and was going to say the same thing.

      Bloodsuckers, all of them.

      • Re:boy am I glad (Score:4, Interesting)

        by narcberry (1328009) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:19PM (#27115083) Journal

        If congress didn't lock these companies in place with huge piles of money, we might have some entrepreneurs entering the space with words like, "customer", "service", and "helpful" in their dictionary.

        Anyhow, I hope this presents an opportunity to end my contract with Verizon, I missed the last one they never mailed me.

        • Please do let us know if you have any luck ending your contract.

          • Re:boy am I glad (Score:5, Informative)

            by narcberry (1328009) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:11PM (#27116011) Journal

            In the meantime, here's how to opt-out (taken from the mouth of FredicvsMaximvs from the article comments)

            - Sign in to the Verizon website.
            - On the red bar near the top, hover over "My Verizon." Click on "My Profile." (Don't go over to the sub-menu that pops up.)
            - In the second section down, under Phone Controls, there's a link to "View/Edit Privacy (CPNI) Settings." Click on that.
            - Voila! Click on the button that says "Don't share my CPNI." Remember to hit the save button before you leave.

            • Re:boy am I glad (Score:4, Interesting)

              by cbeaudry (706335) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @10:48PM (#27117159)

              I think the best option is to call them. Ask to speak to a supervisor.

              Tell them over the phone, you opt OUT and you want them to change any records necessary to make sure you are opted out.

              Ask them if they are NOT recording this they SHOULD be recording as you are recording it as well.

              Tell them if they do not opt you out immediately that you will sue them in court and it wont be pretty.

              Then... hope to god they make a mistake :)

              Im from Canada and Im usually not a litigious person. But these corporate bloodsucking companies need to get their ass handed to them.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by saiha (665337)

                For some reason I was reminded of The Office when Michael "declared bankruptcy".

      • I dunno (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have prepaid service through T-Mobile, and I never have to worry about this sort of thing.

        Why?

        Because all they have on me is a name and a birth date. No address. No social security number. No drivers license number. No credit card number. Nothing. In fact, when I set up the phone they didn't ask for any proof of the validity of the birth date, nor if the name was even mine.

        I can buy more minutes at any of their locations, paying cash, to ensure total anonymity.

        It costs ten cents a minute. And ten c

      • by Kozz (7764) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:11PM (#27116005)

        "We don't care. We're the phone company. We don't have to."

        http://snltranscripts.jt.org/76/76aphonecompany.phtml [jt.org]

    • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:57PM (#27114109) Journal

      The summary is blatantly wrong.

      Verizon will NOT just hand over your information to other companies.

      I am 100% sure that Verizon will demand a bunch of money before these companies get to see any of your personal, private information. Once the companies have made the payment, then they can do whatever they want with your information. And if they make their regular monthly payments, they get access to updated information from Verizon.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)

        They're a regulated monopoly.. why do they need other "revenue streams"? They're not a "normal" company in that they can ask for rate increases to cover any operational losses... they have no need for income streams from other purposes... they shouldn't be handing out customer data.. because you have no real way to opt out of their monopoly.

      • I smell a pimp analogy in here somewhere. The consumer gets abused while Mr. Pimp there walks away with all the cash.

        Consumer 'reward'? Lousy service.

      • by hyades1 (1149581)

        Thanks for clearing that up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by momerath2003 (606823) *

      About a month ago, I got a similar letter from AT&T describing how I could opt out of having my personal information shared with affiliates, etc.

      When I called the number to opt out, I had to sit through sixty seconds of a computer verifying that yes, I was turning down all sorts of great offers etc.

      • Re:boy am I glad (Score:4, Informative)

        by sdnoob (917382) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:03PM (#27114497)

        About a month ago, I got a similar letter from AT&T describing how I could opt out ...

        US Cellular did the same thing last year... IIRC, it was right after some sort of legislation or rules change that allowed them to share the data.

        Opting out was painless, just had to call a number and it was automated... *however* people should have to opt *IN* not opt out.

        • Re:boy am I glad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:48PM (#27114831) Journal

          Opting out was painless, just had to call a number and it was automated... *however* people should have to opt *IN* not opt out.

          But then they'd have to offer you something in return, to entice you to opt in. The underhanded way they're doing it, it costs them nothing. Most likely, their income from selling customer information won't be reduced unless quite a lot of subscribers opt out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Teun (17872)
      And it was neither of the two when I wrote my sig...
    • Re:boy am I glad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:45PM (#27114821)
      I had Verizon for 5 years and boy, am I happy that I dropped them like hot potatoes. I even had to fight them for 9 months for getting my due rebate. Moreover, I found out that they had me on collection for years because the idiot that I returned the phone to the day after purchasing it (it malfunctioned) forgot to do their paperwork. I had to get the FTC involved and finally they stopped asking for money. What's worse was that they don't communicate among departments otherwise they would have seen that I had an active line with payments made regularly.
  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:38PM (#27113993)
    I'm posting here that I'm going to eat all of your staff's pets.

    You 15 minutes to reply to this post, or you agree that Bruno the Poodle is my main course.
  • by sentientbeing (688713) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:39PM (#27114009)
    Look, I know the UK gets slammed regularly here on Slashdot for CCTV privacy issues and government spying, but at least we have a halfway decent Data Protection Act with teeth. A company pulling this kind of shit wouldnt get 2 steps in the UK. Doesnt the US have something similar to deter blatant abuses like this?
    • by Ontheotherhand (796949) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:51PM (#27114063)
      I think the subtle irony of your post may be lost on the less British. my personal favourite is the local council that used anti terror legislation to spy on a family who were applying for a school place. Thank goodness commercial organisations cant protect us in this way - yet.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:52PM (#27114075)

      Look, I know the UK gets slammed regularly here on Slashdot for CCTV privacy issues and government spying, but at least we have a halfway decent Data Protection Act with teeth. A company pulling this kind of shit wouldnt get 2 steps in the UK. Doesnt the US have something similar to deter blatant abuses like this?

      Yes, indeed ... we have Congress ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 7-Vodka (195504)

      Hey guess what? I can cancel with verizon right now before this takes effect and sign up with a company who doesn't do this (which I'm currently doing).

      You cannot get Freedom of speech, privacy or your money back from outrageous taxes. Welcome to your big brother world.

      • by z0idberg (888892)

        If I were you I would opt out and then cancel.

        It's a pretty safe bet that they will sell any ex-customers data without a second thought if they didn't opt out. And probably even do it if you did.

    • by EddyPearson (901263) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:19PM (#27114239) Homepage

      You mean a company like Phorm [wikipedia.org] , who have been getting backing from both BT (THE telco out here) and the Gov't despite the exclusively bad press?

    • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:39PM (#27114345)

      We have contracts. I am a Verizon customer and I read this story and called up and now, I'm opted out (I offered to opt in for $5/month off my bill, about what I think that's worth, they declined). In the end-game, if VZ wouldn't agree to let me opt out, I'd consider other service providers, compare all my options, and pick the one I liked the most.

      For the masses that don't care to opt-out, they don't care! Giving out personal information is not an injury to people that don't care. I know it's impossible for /.ers to imagine that other people might have more a different set of priorities than they do, but it's a fact that different people care about different sets of things. Even people that care about the same set of things assign different weights and will come up with different tradeoffs. What's nice about a system of voluntary associations is that those sets of priorities can be efficiently mapped into different contract terms instead of everyone getting a one-sized-fits-all solution.

      I really cannot understand why some people believe that they have the right to dictate the terms under which someone sells them a service. If you went into the grocery store and saw a 6-pack of apples being sold for $1, would you demand (citing some clearly inalienable right) that they sell you a 5-pack of apples for $.80? If you don't want apples on the terms that the store is selling them, buy them from a different store. If no store has terms you approve of, then you have to admit the fact that no other human being will voluntarily give you his apples under those terms. Either change your terms, or start rationalizing to yourself your right to seize those apples from him involuntarily.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ghyspran (971653)
        The problem is not that Verizon shouldn't be allowed to sell you services under their rules; that is fine. What isn't fine is selling service under one set of rules and then changing those rules with little notice (or apparently none if you view your bill online), especially when those changes concern your privacy.
        • by sentientbeing (688713) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:37PM (#27114757)
          Verizon: "But Mr Dent, the privacy opt-out contract has been available in the local telecom office for the last nine months."

          Dent: "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

          Verizon: "But the contract was on display ..."

          Dent: "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

          Verizon: "That's the display department."

          Dent: "With a flashlight."

          Verizon: "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

          Dent: "So had the stairs."

          Verizon: "But look, you found the privacy notice didn't you?"

          Dent: "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."
      • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:10PM (#27114545)

        The problem is that the stance you take ignores the whole concept of barter which has been part of human existence since a guy first decided to sell apples. Only with the advent of mass marketing has it been acceptable for a company to entirely dictate the terms of the apple sale. Before, I could walk into a store and ask them if they'll sell me that package of apples for $.80, and it would be totally okay. There are markets in other countries where this is still considered acceptable, and where merchants price items specifically so that they can haggle down to a reasonable price. The fact that we accept without question that companies just sell us service for a flat rate means that they don't have to compete as directly with each other.

        Furthermore, we don't believe in our unalienable right to those apples. We believe that we have the right to negotiate the price of those apples or seek apples elsewhere. Reasonable people realise that it's unreasonable to expect anyone to part with anything without a fair exchange. We would only quibble over what constitutes fairness. Maybe you're the one being irrational? Isn't it a bit irrational to expect people not to negotiate for anything at all?

        Case in point, I asked a bank teller if one of their fees was reasonable, and she promptly removed it after thinking about it herself. It's okay to want to negotiate.

      • by soren202 (1477905) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:33PM (#27115653)
        Did you even read the summary of the article? Verizon will be selling things like billing info, technical info and location info, among other things.

        Name ONE person that enjoys junk mail and unsolicited phone calls during supper about getting your windshield repaired, or refinancing their credit card debt, or unneeded car insurance.

        Yours is an indefensible position. Nobody wants what Verizon is trying to do with their personal info, and every rational person knows that.

        Although it's true that we can't dictate the exact cost of a service, having personal information sold to other companies at no benefit to the consumer on an opt out basis is wrong, regardless of the context.

        If it's a way to have your bills reduced or if it's on an opt in rather than opt out basis, then maybe I'd be more sympathetic to your stance, but, as it stands, Verizon is selling private information to other companies with no benefit to the end consumer. There is no way, regardless of your convoluted view of the system, that such a situation could ever be considered fair or right.
        • by rnelsonee (98732) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @11:00PM (#27117223)

          Yeah, but name one person who enjoys paying more for services than their neighbor.

          Verizon will be selling personal information for *money*, and this influx of capital will mean that customers won't have to be 100% responsible for Verizon's monthly operating budget, upgrade projects, or anything else that the company spends money on.

          Every successful company (and let's face it, Verizon is one of them) spends its money wisely. It's not like the money Verizon is getting for this is going to the Buy-the-CEO-a-Mercedes fund -- it will go into the budget just as all the customer payments do.

          If Verizon doesn't sell your info (which most customers don't value much anyway), then either service will degrade, prices will go up, or Verizon will not be able to offer new products. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        For the masses that don't care to opt-out, they don't care

        - possibly you are correct. It is also possible that you are wrong and that most people don't understand what is being done to them. They may not understand that it is even possible for a company, which is only supposed to provide them with a service for a fee, can also make more money on creating a nuisance for the customer by selling customers' private information that will be used for unsolicited advertisement.

        If Verizon actually expected most customers to be able to understand what was offered, they

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cyn1c77 (928549)

      No.

      Our government used to stop these things, but they got bought out by the corporations about 20 years ago.

      • by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:59PM (#27114919)
        > Our government used to stop these things, but they got bought out by the corporations about 20 years ago.

        Let's call a duck a duck. It was thanks to Ronald Reagan, the greatest almighty president, that corporations got more and more power. For those who were too young to know, or forgot, banks also had a limit to how much interest they could charge on a credit card, but Reagan decided it wasn't fair and made them free to charge whatever they wanted. Good Morning 29% APR. Thanks George W. Reagan!

        • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:12PM (#27116025)

          > Our government used to stop these things, but they got bought out by the corporations about 20 years ago.

          Let's call a duck a duck. It was thanks to Ronald Reagan, the greatest almighty president, that corporations got more and more power. For those who were too young to know, or forgot, banks also had a limit to how much interest they could charge on a credit card, but Reagan decided it wasn't fair and made them free to charge whatever they wanted. Good Morning 29% APR. Thanks George W. Reagan!

          I'm not going to disagree with you about who started chipping away at the public good in favor of corporate greed. Sadly though, I think that both major parties are guilty. Priority goes to getting yourself re-elected, which involves bringing the most pork into your district and making the corporate lobbyists happy so that they don't overthrow you on the next election.

          When advertising and lobbyists started having more effect on elections than the actual facts on the ground, the general public lost out.

          Now it's just like herding sheep.

    • by Wowsers (1151731) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:35PM (#27114745) Journal
      If the UK's Data Protection Act had any teeth at all, they would have ruled the IP packet inspecting / changing Phorm system [wikipedia.org] illegal under existing laws, and not have the situation that the Phorm company is going around trying to suppress knowledge of their system to subscribers of the three scumbag internet providers that will roll out this system (BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk).

      http://wikileaks.org/wiki/UK_media_suppressed_Phorm_survey_and_article%2C_2009 [wikileaks.org]

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Sadly our whores....errr politicians sold us out years ago. Unless you got a big bag o' cash your voice and those of your fellow citizens is pretty much worthless here. That is why my boys, who will both soon turn 18, say they will never vote. They say it isn't worth even five minutes of their time for what has become nothing but a sham. Sadly I couldn't really argue with them as they had a point.

      Here we have voted FOUR times now for a lotto so our kids can get free college education. Our whores...cough cou

  • by dprovine (140134) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:41PM (#27114023)

    While people will complain about this now, and talk about switching to Comcast or whoever, what will happen next is that Comcast &c. will do the same thing, and there'll be noplace left to switch to.

    Since it's unlikely there will ever be any sort of sufficient regulation of this behaviour by the government, the obvious solution is for everybody to use VOIP and run TOR. But that's unlikely too.

    • by symbolic (11752)

      The solution is to grow a spine. Cut them off. Yes, that means gasp! canceling your service. We've managed to survive for very long periods without cell phones. And we still can. The only difference is a little less convenience.

      • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:03PM (#27114143)

        I don't carry a cellphone anymore. I hate being 'on call' like that when I'm away.

        one problem, though. have you notice that payphones are almost non-existant now? they are almost impossible to find.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It's sad that this has to be pointed out, but I do understand that it's honestly an odd concept nowadays: You can still carry a cell phone for when you need it and not be "on call" by turning the little sucker off. I get questions sometimes, but when I ask "you got my voicemail, didn't you?" it usually shuts up the inquirer.

          OT, I was going to switch to Verizon this spring, but given the crappy service you get at their stores and now this crap, I'll be sticking with something a little bit more private (pa

        • Nokia phones used to have a fantastic feature, though I'm sure they could now (or indeed any phones). You could add Contacts into Groups (no surprise there, fairly common) and set "Selective Diversion". I had my phone set up so friends could call 24/7, but calls from a work number outside 8-8 were automatically diverted to voicemail. It wasn't perfect, if I recall, as it was being done by the handset, not the network, so you might get the occasional half-ring before diversion, but was a nice way of managing
        • by evilviper (135110)

          I don't carry a cellphone anymore. I hate being 'on call' like that when I'm away.

          You can opt to shut off your cell phone, disable the ringer, or just don't pick it up when it rings, at any time you like.

          More importantly, though... Cell phones can be CHEAPER than a land-line, and it can be quite difficult to find a VoIP solution that is notably less expensive than a cell.

          one problem, though. have you notice that payphones are almost non-existant now? they are almost impossible to find.

          Yes. As people use t

        • by The Moof (859402)
          You know, you can just turn off your phone when you don't want to receive calls, and screen them when you do want to receive calls. It's not rocket science, I do it all the time. If it's important, they'll leave a message.
    • I shudder at the thought of Comcast ever getting into the cell phone business.
      • I shudder at the thought of Comcast ever getting into the cell phone business.

        Well, I think we have a really good idea. It's called "Sprint".

    • by 7-Vodka (195504)

      The barrier for entry into communications is low enough that an alternative can always emerge.

      Don't forget P2P. Power to the people.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        The

        technical

        barrier for entry into communications is low enough that an alternative can always emerge.

        Don't forget P2P. Power to the people.

        The legal barriers are somewhat different.

  • by SaxIndustries (1268118) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:44PM (#27114037)
    CC companies do this kinda stuff all the time. You get a letter of an upcoming policy change, and you throw it out not even bothering to read it, since your options are usually A) Agree to the new terms, or B) Pay off and close your account.

    I guess what I'm saying is, I've lost all faith in large companies to do the right thing. After I saw my tax dollars pay CEOs large bonuses, I just gave up. Game's over man.

    Of course, this happens right as people start forgetting about how much Verizon sucks at math.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yup, exactly. "You may opt out of this change." With fine print (or maybe not even then, but a followup letter, "By opting out of this change, we have exercised our right to close your account. All balances are now due and payable in full within 14 days."

      The other sneaky one, "Your payment of your next bill indicates your acceptance of the changes to the Terms and Conditions outlined in this letter". Wow. Nice. I guess "Agree to these changes, or watch us fuck your credit score" might be likely to alienate

    • by initialE (758110)

      Give up? Fight back man! The more you give in the more they will take from you. Learn a bit from your president, he never gave up hope.

  • I haven't read through the full article yet, but I'm assuming they're talking about Verizon Wireless. Or does this spill down to those of us using Verizon DSL service, too?
    • Re:Which Verizon? (Score:5, Informative)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:51PM (#27114061)
      Replying to myself. Looks like it is Verizon Wireless. But it also looks like it's fairly easy to opt out of. You can either do it through your settings on the Verizon Wireless [verizonwireless.com] website, or via phone at 1-800-333-9956.
      • That was not easy (Score:3, Informative)

        by dcooper_db9 (1044858)
        First, when I logged in I browsed to the "Message Center". Most of the contract documents, including the "Customer Proprietary Network Information Notice" were unavailable. The reason they gave was:

        Your Customer Proprietary Network Information Notice is available to view online if executed within the last 6 months.

        After about 5 minutes of browsing I found how to get Verizon to stop sharing my personal calling information. The steps to change the setting are as follows:

        1. Login to the account.
        2. Click on "
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by yuna49 (905461)

        Nor does it seem to apply to my land-line phone or television services over FiOS. I don't see any settings in my Verizon account that relate to the issues discussed here.

  • It possibly suggests (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:48PM (#27114057)

    That Verizon perhaps has already been doing this information sharing. They just want to stop getting penalized [consumeraffairs.com] for various marketing activities they undertake.

    And court rulings [epic.org] that affirm the new regulations requiring opt-in consent.

    So the new regulations are finally making them take notice and be more forthcoming about when they share proprietary information??

    Verizon might be on the hot seat right now, but, I won't be surprised if notices like Verizon's or similar agreements start being seen from other carriers.

    • And court rulings that affirm the new regulations requiring opt-in consent.

      With regard to that, the opt-out concept described in TFA fails to help them. It seems Verizon management wants to be slapped around in court some more ;-)

  • Of course they do and the only thing that kept them from doing it before was the fear of a backlash from their customers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maitai (46370)

      They've been doing it for a long time, when I signed up with Verizon in November it came with a piece of paper telling about the information sharing and how to opt out. This article seems at least 5 months to late.

      Also, I did get a letter in December about it (but I'd opted out when I first signed up).

      Personally, I give them kudos for even notifying me (at the signing of the contract even), and more so for the option to opt out (I've had other companies notify me, but no opt-out option, and it's rare that

  • I found it: (Score:4, Informative)

    by nukeade (583009) <{serpent11} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:55PM (#27114091) Homepage

    If you are a Verizon Wireless customer like me, the number to call to opt out is given in the actual legal document, here:

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/globalText?contentType=Legal%20Notice&textId=181 [verizonwireless.com]

    It takes about two minutes.

    ~Ben

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Xayma (892821)
      In typical legalese fashion the letter contains contradictions:

      Unless you provide us with notice that you wish to opt out within 30 days of us providing notice to you in your bill or through the mail, we will assume that you give us the right to share your CPNI with the authorized companies as described above.

      Q4. How do I give my consent to share CPNI? A. Unless you provide us with notice that you wish to opt out within 45 days of receiving this letter, we will assume that you give us the right to share yo

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:58PM (#27114111)

    dammit.

    file 'sharing' is wrong. or so we're told.

    but DATA sharing, if done by multi million corps - that's ok. yeah....

    its not sharing, its SELLING.

    orwell was right - you can control thoughts via language. give words an incorrect meaning or redefine them and you're halfway there.

    similarly, copying bits is not THEFT but copyright violation. again, manipulating our words to make things not quite what they really are.

  • Does this mean I can opt out of my phone contract without penalty? I've been looking for a way to get on to a proper GSM carrier without paying the early termination fee. Or does it just mean I can opt out of the data sharing?

    • I doubt it. The sharing of your data doesn't make a material difference to the contract. If anything they would probably claim it saves you money, as "they pass the savings on to you" (hahaha).
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:07PM (#27114163)

    Become an "affiliate or agent" of Verizon, and you won't need to use ruses like "pretexting" to get the phone records of your targets.

    Good for employers, too, who want to check up on the private calls that its employees make with their own phones.

  • by fructose (948996) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:19PM (#27114243) Homepage

    I had to go through 3 websites/blogs before I got the direct link. So if you have Verizon and want to opt out directly, here you go.

    https://ebillpay.verizonwireless.com/vzw/accountholder/profile/CPNISettings.action [verizonwireless.com]

  • I guaran-fucking-tee you that even if you canceled your account today, that the information would still be stored and shared by Verizon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:27PM (#27114293)

    Several years ago, my local PBS station was begging for donations. I was about to call in and donate $50 when they said they would give you a 1-year subscription to Fast Company magazine if you dontated $60, so that's what I did. A few days later, I got a postcard in the mail thanking me for my donation and saying I would receive my subscription shortly, but my name was misspelled in a unique way. I never received a single issue of the magazine, but I got several solicitations from various charities with the same misspelling.

    A message to all corporations and non-profits: If someone gives you money for a donation, service, or product, be thankful for it and treat them with an ounce of respect instead of turning around and screwing them for a few extra pennies by selling their personal info.

    P.S. I never gave another penny to PBS again.

  • This isn't new (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mugsy69 (314569) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:30PM (#27114303)

    The court case resulting from the 2007 FCC regs requiring consumers to be able to opt to not have their information shared was finally decided on 2/19. That's what caused this notice to be sent. For more information check out this link to the EPIC website: http://epic.org/privacy/cpni/ [epic.org]. It includes links to opt out for both Verizon and SBC.

    • by XorNand (517466) *
      For the lazy: Call (866) 483-9600 to opt out with Verizon. It's automated and you'll need the the primary phone number on the account, the account name, plus you'll have to leave voicemail that states the primary name on the account, billing address, the name of the caller, and a callback number for the caller. It seems that they're determined to make this as painful as possible.
  • not Verizon (Score:2, Informative)

    by syrinx (106469)

    This is not about Verizon. It is about Verizon Wireless, which is a completely separate company (half owned by Verizon and half owned by Vodafone).

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Ah! So it's only HALF about Verizon.

      Your explanation doesn't get Verizon off the hook, it merely dilutes the blame. And it doesn't dilute it enough. I believe they would need to hold less than 20% of the stock (I forget how much less) to not be considered culpable were this a suit.

    • by unitron (5733)

      This is not about Verizon. It is about Verizon Wireless...

      So which one bought Alltel, and are Alltel customers who opted out with Alltel going find themselves "stealth opted-in"?

  • There are slashdotters who still use Verizon? Despite their well-publicized math skills [verizonmath.com]? I'm amazed.

    (Best line: "that's a matter of opinion, sir". Referring to the result of a simple arithmetic calculation.)

  • by icebike (68054) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:06PM (#27114521)

    So they apparently lied to congress:
    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ISPs-Try-To-Prevent-New-Opt-In-Only-Privacy-Law-97991 [dslreports.com]

    Verizon statement before Congress:

    Verizon believes that before a company captures certain Internet-usage data for targeted or customized advertising purposes, it should obtain meaningful, affirmative consent from consumers." To get that meaningful consent, Tauke said, requires a) explaining to consumers exactly what kind of data are being collected and for what; b) treating a failure to consent as meaning no collection of data for "online behavioral marketing"; and c) consumers' ability to easily opt out if they initially agree but change their minds.

    I shocked. Shocked! I tell you...

  • After signing in to My Verizon (the online account management page) click on the My Profile tab, In the Phone Controls section there's a link titled "View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings" Direct link [verizonwireless.com] for people logged in.

  • CPNI approval is used by the telecoms to allow them to treat your entire account (landline, internet, long distance, wireless, etc.) as one account. Without CPNI approval the telecom will treat each one of those things as belonging to separate companies (since the silly laws have made the telecoms into several companies to provide these services.)
  • opt out (Score:4, Informative)

    by suraklin (28841) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:39PM (#27115217)

    From the comments at Gizmodo there was a post that explained how to opt out from your web account

    Sign in to the Verizon website.
    - On the red bar near the top, hover over "My Verizon." Click on "My Profile." (Don't go over to the sub-menu that pops up.)
    - In the second section down, under Phone Controls, there's a link to "View/Edit Privacy (CPNI) Settings." Click on that.
    - Voila! Click on the button that says "Don't share my CPNI." Remember to hit the save button before you leave.

  • I am a Verizon customer and I have opted out of sharing CPNI. I don't know what the new privacy statements are, my privacy policy hasn't been updated in the last six months, but I bet it has to do with CPNI. Here is the section from VZW's customer agreement.

    What is confusing is whether "personal information" is limited to Name, number, address, etc, or also includes CPNI (the non-identifiable info).

    Your Privacy â" IMPORTANT INFORMATION â" PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE MAKING YOUR PURCHASE DECISION

  • by m6ack (922653) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:55PM (#27115327)

    Follow these instructions:

    1) Call Verizon.
    2) Have the representative explain "CPNI."
    3) Ask a couple of questions.
    4) Ask the representative to OPT-OUT of all your phones.

    You have just cost Verizon Wireless about $20.00 for that call.

  • I'm becoming sick of it. Every commercial Tom Dick and Harry seems to take it onto himself to "share" (read "sell") whatever part of our personal data they can lay their hands on with absolutely anyone (who pays enough to become an "affiliate").

    And this isn't about name, address, age, gender information either. It's everything an ISP can figure out about you without actually reading your email.

    Who needs this ? (except companies selling off your details and other companies using it to spam you and/or to

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashBLUEdot.org minus berry> on Monday March 09, 2009 @05:06PM (#27126785)

    Because unofficially, I bet they are doing it already. No everyone who pays enough or is a TLA (three letter agency)

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