Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Verizon Privacy

Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff 75

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-your-worst dept.
mpicpp points out a new program from Verizon that is perfect if you don't mind being tracked. Are you comfortable having your location and Web browsing tracked for marketing purposes? If so, Verizon's got a deal for you. The wireless giant announced a new program this week called 'Smart Rewards' that offers customers credit card-style perks like discounts for shopping, travel and dining. You accrue points through the program by doing things like signing onto the Verizon website, paying your bill online and participating in the company's trade-in program. Verizon emphasizes that the data it collects is anonymized before it's shared with third parties. The program is novel in that offers Verizon users some compensation for the collection of their data, which has become big business for telecom and tech companies. Some privacy advocates have pushed data-collecting companies to reward customers for their personal information in the interest of transparency.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Verizon's Offer: Let Us Track You, Get Free Stuff

Comments Filter:
  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @08:34PM (#47519683)
    It sounds like the Google business plan being explained to me like I was five-years-old.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:23PM (#47519943)

      Except it isn't Google's business plan. Google sells advertising targeting to ad companies. Verizon is selling your data to data mining companies. Google would never sell your data because it's their core business to be the keepers of that data so they can sell targeted ads. Not that Google is altruistic, just that they are themselves the data miners so they are not going to share.

      Google offers free services to compensate. Services people tend to find pretty valuable such as Android, Gmail and Search.

      Verizon is going to offer "discounts for shopping, travel and dining" read: coupons (ie more advertising).
      Verizon is going to "anonymize" your data and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to pay.

      I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

      • by NoKaOi (1415755)

        I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

        And there's another big difference. Google gives you services for free (which many people find useful) in exchange for exploiting your info. Verizon is going to give you discounts for third party services that will still cost money in exchange for exploiting your info while overcharging you money for using their services.

      • Except it isn't Google's business plan. Google sells advertising targeting to ad companies. Verizon is selling your data to data mining companies. Google would never sell your data because it's their core business to be the keepers of that data so they can sell targeted ads. Not that Google is altruistic, just that they are themselves the data miners so they are not going to share.

        Google offers free services to compensate. Services people tend to find pretty valuable such as Android, Gmail and Search.

        Verizon is going to offer "discounts for shopping, travel and dining" read: coupons (ie more advertising). Verizon is going to "anonymize" your data and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to pay.

        I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

        Verizon is offering more than just the points. Your asymmetrical FIOS connection gets upgraded to symmetrical based on your download speed if you sign up. My 150/65 got upgraded to 150/150 and speedtest.net shows it is actually hitting 152/164 consistently. I'll take it, especially considering they could probably have sold the data with no compensation.

        • Except it isn't Google's business plan. Google sells advertising targeting to ad companies. Verizon is selling your data to data mining companies. Google would never sell your data because it's their core business to be the keepers of that data so they can sell targeted ads. Not that Google is altruistic, just that they are themselves the data miners so they are not going to share.

          Google offers free services to compensate. Services people tend to find pretty valuable such as Android, Gmail and Search.

          Verizon is going to offer "discounts for shopping, travel and dining" read: coupons (ie more advertising). Verizon is going to "anonymize" your data and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to pay.

          I see the exchange of value in one business plan, and not the other.

          Verizon is offering more than just the points. Your asymmetrical FIOS connection gets upgraded to symmetrical based on your download speed if you sign up. My 150/65 got upgraded to 150/150 and speedtest.net shows it is actually hitting 152/164 consistently. I'll take it, especially considering they could probably have sold the data with no compensation.

          Yes, I took it, too. I read all through their terms-of-service fine print, too, and there is nothing there granting them any access to, or additional rights to use, any data or tracking information about me. That is, there was no change in privacy policy stuff for signing up for the Rewards+ program. So whatever data they are selling, they are not collecting / selling more of it than they were before.

          I suspect that what they are selling is eyeballs to advertisers or merchants that want access to Verizon'

  • There are specific holes designed into all iPhones and iPads that show up in iOS allowing them to bypass any locking.

    They're not "published" per se, but they're there and many suppliers of law enforcement software provide them, which work either over wireless or the data/power connection ports.

    What warrants? They're already quartering troops in your pocket and purse.

    I mention the iPhone and iPad angle, since more than 60 percent of all adult US citizens use those. You'd think Droids would be more popular, b

    • This way people will be much more aware of the kind of tracking possible (merging of locations from the phone ; with interestests from what websites you browser; with associates that you call).

      I can see a new service coming up similar to a Taxi for your phone..... have someone drive your phone to where you're supposed to be, while you go to where you want to be. And perhaps they can loan you a loaner phone and forward the calls to it.

  • Is that Verizon probably knows there's a market for this from market research...

    After what's come out about corporations having to feed the surveillance beast, anyone who opts in should be subjected to having their house and cars wiretapped in perpetuity by the NSA with a direct feed to the FBI as the price for their nonchalance toward surveillance.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      After what's come out about corporations having to feed the surveillance beast, anyone who opts in should be subjected to having their house and cars wiretapped in perpetuity by the NSA with a direct feed to the FBI as the price for their nonchalance toward surveillance.

      This is already a service being provided to everyone, no need to opt-in. Plus, we only have to pay the subscription fee once a year on April 15.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @08:46PM (#47519753)

    In New Zealand we've got Flybuys.
    For a retailer to be part of the programme, their POS system needs to send every item on your receipt to Flybuys. They don't just get "customer A spent $X at retailer Y". They get each product you bought, how much you paid for it, if it was on sale and what the payment method was.

    It lets them do things like see the last time you bought a pregnancy test and a few months later, start putting specials for baby products in the next email you get sent by them on behalf of your local supermarket. Or if you buy a particular brand of razor, they might tell you about specials for blade refills.

    In exchange for all that information, you get to spend reward points on selected products.

    • by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:55PM (#47520055)

      Your dignity sold. What every ad man wants. Everyone has their price, and the price is frighteningly small.

      Verizon already gets LBS, GPS, WiFi, and other info from most phones unless users go to fiendish depth with Snoopwall and other products to stanch the data flow. I'm wondering WHY they're asking for permission. Seems ludicrous to do so when everyone's already giving it up for free. Making it legit?

      Legit like net neutrality? Legit like stonewalling their clientele? Doesn't make sense.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        I'm wondering WHY they're asking for permission. Seems ludicrous to do so when everyone's already giving it up for free. Making it legit?

        They're collecting all that information, but they have to keep it under wraps. They have to get permission, like this, to be able to release (sell) all your vital information to 3rd parties.

        The public and our representatives don't care about privacy, much. But after the free-for-all is on for a while, one case will break-through in the media... Something about a violent

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      It lets them do things like see the last time you bought a pregnancy test and a few months later, start putting specials for baby products in the next email you get sent by them on behalf of your local supermarket.

      Amateurs. [forbes.com]

      • I heard about that

        Except Target is only Target.
        Flybuys is in one store in pretty much every market, from food, petrol, appliances, banking, insurance, DIY, ISP's, travel and accomodation.

        Imagine what you could do with all that data...

  • and get Free dumb.

  • by newcastlejon (1483695) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:09PM (#47519891)
    They're offering me discounts on stuff I probably don't need if I make it easier for people to try and sell me shit I don't want?
    Anonymised? Pull the other one.
    • by nukenerd (172703) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @05:36AM (#47521221)

      They're offering me discounts on stuff I probably don't need

      My daughter (aged 10 at the time) filled in a paper-based marketing survey on the promise that you would get rewarded with 1000 GBP (but I'll use $$) in vouchers. Seemed too good to be true, but they were true to their word! A thick wad of vouchers came. The vouchers were something like :

      .. $100 off a new Rolls Royce
      .. $100 off a new house
      .. $50 off recarpeting my whole house
      .. $50 off having a swimming pool installed
      ...$50 off a world cruise
      .. $5 off some hotel in Singapore
      .. $5 off at some restaurant in the North of Scotland
      .. $1 off beauty treatment at some place in Northern Ireland
      .. $1 off a life subscription to a church magazine
      .. One penny off budgerigar food
      .. and so on

      I had the last laugh though. Everything my daughter put down was a joke, like saying (in my name) I kept weasels (some people do). I got free copies of a quarterly Weasel magazine for the next two years

  • I want money not your carney game bullshit. Money.

  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @09:39PM (#47520003)

    (posting from my uber-low ID)

    They were probably doing it anyway, and now want everyone to opt-in, so they can cover their arses before they got caught for tracking everyone without their consent.

    • by dltaylor (7510)

      It's not illegal, except, maybe, in California, and not tested all the way up there, AFAIK.

      It's sleazy, but Verizon is a US telecom provider, so that is almost (exception , anyone?) a given.

  • by certain death (947081) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @10:58PM (#47520331)
    Should Verizon change their name? NetZero did this back in the day, but with far less technology or "Big Data".
  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Wednesday July 23, 2014 @11:16PM (#47520385)

    Just saying...

  • Not matter what they claim, they will be tracking everyone, whether they sign up or not. I'm sure they already have some slimy lawyer bullshit in the existing terms of service that they can use to justify the practice.

    It's not like users will ever know what they are doing. It could be going on right now and no one would be the wiser. Maybe the are rolling this out now because they have been keeping (and possibly using) this data, and they figure that pretending that there is an option available will give t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep. They are. They will be tracked. I will eventually be helping Verizon do this. I tried to be part of the solution to ending NSA / government surveillance, but I've come to understand that the people love their holy wars, violence, and most of all... their oil (even if they call it something else... all modern energy is derived from this, so broad category).

      I'm not going to continue putting myself at risk for future generations that obviously don't give a shit about what freedom means. I will live

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      I think you're missing the point. It's not that this gives them permission to track you, like you said that's probably already in your service contract. The point is that it gives explicit permission to sell that data to somebody else, thus legitimizing it and making it more valuable by decreasing legal and PR risk.

  • It seem like a good business idea to me. Moreover, they are keeping your identity hidden and and it's a voluntary service.
  • Let me know when I can get a discount in my service. I might let Verizon track me if it meant a direct discount. Until then, I'll pass.
    • by BUL2294 (1081735)
      Save money on Verizon or save money on things marketers want you to buy? What's the difference--if you're still saving $$$?

      Imagine a brave new world where you walk into a Whole Foods and the "VZWAds" app pops-up a coupon for $0.50 off a $4.99 gallon of "365" brand milk, $0.30 off some couscous, and $1 off the pre-made food bar (minimum $15 purchase) for lunch? You needed milk, have no idea how to cook couscous, and you were getting hungry for lunch--but $15 worth of pre-made food is a lot, even at Whole
  • Those of you whos mom or wife does your groceries shopping, This is nothing new but expected. Everyone fills out a shopper card it would be stupid not too if you didn't grow up with the silver spoon. So after all theses years of collecting data on what people buy what has it done for the stores except for product placement>
  • Though perhaps it would be more fair if, in exchange for being allowed to sell data about you, Verizon provided your cell service for free. Or at least reduced so that FinalBill = BaseFee - ValueOfYourData
  • At least it's still opt-in which is better than a site that states 'Use of this site implies acceptance of our policy' and your only choice is to use the site or not.

    And before you reply 'Just don't use the site' that isn't always an option - i.e. sites that are needed to support one's work.

  • Do not forget PRISM and your CLUE score. Being forced to submit to tracking or be treated differently with "discounts" and "free stuff". discrimination: a distinction, as in treatment; esp.Ã, an unfair or injurious distinction. specif.Ã, arbitrary imposition of unequal tariffs for substantially the same service; a difference in treatment made between persons, localities, or classes of traffic, in respect to substantially the same service. A difference in rates, not based upon any corresponding di
  • sudo vi /etc/hosts

    127.0.0.1 <tab> verizon.com

    :w
    :q

  • by sjames (1099)

    One fine day, perhaps years from now, there'll be a screwup in the rewards program. We'll have a bunch of seals and sea lions getting great deals when they go shopping and a bunch of Verizon customers getting dead fish in the mail.

  • I'm a Verizon Wireless customer, and I'm probably going to sign up for this. Why? Because I very strongly suspect that, even if I choose to "opt out", they are still going to harvest the same data, or very close to the same type of data, and use it for marketing purposes. So now that they've graciously offered to provide me some financial incentive for it, I'm likely to eat it up. I will make a point not to go out of my way to do things I wouldn't normally do, or buy things I don't really need, but if a cou

  • It does sound kind of lame if you read the article. Fortunately for me, I'm a customer who read the offer and took it. You don't just get membership in yet another rewards program. Your internet service gets upgraded to symmetrical at no additional charge if you sign up.

    I went from 150/65 to 150/150 instantly. It tests on speedtest.net as 152/164. I'd say that's a pretty solid "payment" for joining. Better than I have ever seen from any other rewards program.
  • home to enlightened techies. That said, this knowledgeable tech consumer says feck Verizon and the baby bell that they rode in on.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

Working...