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Featured: Verizon Can Track You, and is Selling it To Whoever is Interested – But is it Ethical?

October 17, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

In the past year or so, I’ve heard plenty of bad things about Verizon. From various places on the internet including Google+ and Twitter. Now that Verizon is “excited” that it can track everything you do and is selling it to anyone, I’m expecting a lot of Verizon customers to be upset about. It all started last year when Verizon quietly announced that they were making a change to their privacy policy. This change would allow the wireless giant to being mining from the rich data from your phone and use it in “business and marketing reports”. Now Verizon has started cashing in on all this rich data.

The Verizon executive that’s in charge of their new Precision Marketing Insights is Bill Diggins, who is responsible for selling this information about your location, internet browsing and app usage to anyone who wants to buy it. The information is supposedly “anonymized and aggregated”, but we aren’t to sure about that.

CNET has also pulled up a video of a Bill Diggins appearance from March of this year, you can watch that video here. CNET’s Declan McCullagh also says that this could mess with the Wiretap law. Since Verizon is “inspecting the content of your communications, and re-purposing them”. But Verizon might be able to get out of this since they do offer a way to opt-out of the collecting of data.

So who are some of the company’s buying this data? Well it looks like they include Motorola, Target, America’s Next Top Model, and Adidas are just a few of them. Diggins also says “What we do specifically is we understand what our customers daily activity stream is…”. I don’t know about the rest of you, but doesn’t that kind of freak you out? Sort of turns Verizon into a stalker, right?

While this is good for the greedy carrier that is Verizon, it is not good for their customers. I know I don’t want my carrier collecting my data of where I go, what I browse for on the internet, etc. So my suggestion is that you go ahead and Opt-Out in the privacy settings of your Verizon Wireless account. It doesn’t take long either.

Is anyone bothered by this? Is this big enough to make you ditch Verizon and head for another carrier? Sound off in the comments below.

Source: CNET, Forbes, Paley Center for Media