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Verizon Advertising Businesses Cellphones Privacy The Almighty Buck

Verizon's Plan To Snoop On Its Customers 85

digitalPhant0m writes: "A story at the L.A. Times details how Verizon Wireless has started pushing the envelope (or downright abusing it) when it comes to tracking users without their knowledge. The company said, 'In addition to the customer information that's currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites. This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network.' While newsworthy, the rate of privacy abuse revelations over the last few years makes it unsurprising."
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Verizon's Plan To Snoop On Its Customers

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  • Re:Clear cookies (Score:3, Informative)

    by Some_Llama ( 763766 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @04:17PM (#46844055) Homepage Journal

    they mean anonymous as in they only know what sites you visit, what you're interested in, who you are calling, who you receive calls from and how much time you do any of these...anonymous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @04:30PM (#46844141)

    From http://www.verizonwireless.com/support/faqs/AccountManagement/mobile_ads.html

    Can I refuse permission to use my information for Relevant Mobile Advertising?

    Yes, you can notify us that you do not want us to use your information for Relevant Mobile Advertising by visiting www.vzw.com/myprivacy or by calling (866) 211-0874.

    Note: if you have a multi-line account, you must indicate your privacy choices with respect to each individual line.

    In addition, if you would like to prevent third party advertising entities from using information they have about your web browsing across sites unrelated to Verizon, including the use of this information in the Relevant Mobile Advertising program, you can opt-out at www.aboutads.info.

  • by halfEvilTech ( 1171369 ) on Friday April 25, 2014 @04:33PM (#46844165)

    My contract just ended finally. So I am voting with my wallet and going no contract with another carrier and shaving half my bill in the process. There are decent phones out there for the cost of a "subsidized' contract phone that still perform well for mine and my wife's usage scenario.

    so fuck you verizon

  • Re:Abuse? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:15PM (#46844473)

    In the day and age of cheap large-scale data processing, any unique identifier that is connected to more than a few behavioral data points is inherently non-anonymous.

    Look at it this way - log2(7 billion) is approx 32. So, 32 bits of information (32 true/false questions, cleverly chosen) is all it takes to uniquely identify more or less any person on the planet. Reality is a bit messier, but also many bits will be far more useful than true/false (for instance even a "cleaned" IP that only has the leading two octets will generally narrow to a fairly precise geo region). Even the way you move your mouse can fairly accurately predict your age and gender.

    And yes, we'll see ads anyway, but that's a pretty awful status quo for us to just accept. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7485773

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan