While the Verizon spying is supposed to be used only for commercial purposes, the whole thing seems very big brother-ish. Verizon says the purpose is to present users with more relevant ads, but the agreement says the data can be shared with third-party companies.
"A local restaurant may want to advertise only to people who live within 10 miles, and we might help deliver that ad on a website without sharing information that identifies you personally," Verizon Wireless said, according to BGR.com.
Regardless of the policy's intent, it's easy to understand why users are worried about Verizon spying on them. Even more troubling is that the policy is enabled by default - meaning that by simply using your phone you are agreeing to be tracked.
However, there is a way to opt out. Simply go to Verizon's privacy center, sign in to your account, and read over the new policy. Once on that page, there is an option to check the box indicating that your information cannot be used for marketing purposes, and sit back, knowing that your information isn't available for Verizon to spy on.
The full press release is below:
Protecting data and safeguarding privacy are high priorities at Verizon. Verizon Wireless recently introduced a new program that involves the creation of new types of aggregate business and marketing reports. For the business and marketing reports offered by Verizon Wireless, records about websites visited, cell phone locations and other consumer data will be combined (or aggregated) to compile reports that provide businesses with insights about their customers. In addition, Verizon Wireless and Verizon Telecom also introduced new ways to advertise to mobile users and wireline broadband customers.
For example, these insights may include the demographics (age ranges, gender, etc.) and interests (such as "pet lovers" or "tennis enthusiasts") of visitors to a Web site, or commuters who might pass an outdoor billboard. These aggregate reports could be used by web publishers to help provide content that is more appealing to users, or to help advertisers better select the ads they will display on outdoor billboards or at other venues.