Verizon customers can now opt out of privacy-invading tracking cookies

verizon vulnerability left millions of users at risk
After announcing a shift in privacy policy during January 2015, Verizon has finally made the option to opt-out of user tracking available to all subscribers. Dubbed a ‘supercookie’ by critics due to the inability to halt Verizon from using the code to track a subscriber’s location data, general browsing history and app usage information, the new opt-out procedure will completely remove a subscriber’s identifier code from an account.

While subscribers could previously opt out of Verizon’s targeted advertising program, this is the first time that a subscriber has the ability to remove the tracking code and anonymize their accounts within Verizon’s system. Hypothetically, third parties could attempt to gain unauthorized access to that data and invade the privacy of current subscribers that are still opted into tracking.

Speaking to the New York Times, Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis spoke about user privacy statingAs the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus. As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.”

Privacy advocates have declared that this shift in policy still isn’t enough of a move to protect customer privacy. Many advocates would have preferred if Verizon shifted to an opt-in policy and flipped off user tracking on all accounts automatically.

If interested in opting out, the easiest method would be to visit http://www.vzw.com/myprivacy to opt out of the tracking ID. Another option would be to log into the Verizon site, click on ‘My Profile Settings’ in the ‘My Account’ drop-down menu and click on ‘Manage Privacy Settings’ at the bottom of the settings list.

A subscriber will have to specifically opt out of tracking on all phone numbers on the account by marking the check box under ‘Don’t use my information for aggregate reports.’

Beyond the site, users can also call (866) 211-0874 to opt out of the tracking code. Anyone interested in Verizon’s ‘Relevant Mobile Advertising’ tracking program can visit the official company FAQ page.

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