You may remember a while ago, when we showed our readers how they could opt out of Verizon Wireless’ tracking? Well it didn’t quite opt you out completely. Basically it opted you out of the marketing side of things. So that Verizon wouldn’t sell the info to third parties. Kinda strange right? However, now you can opt out. The largest wireless carrier in the US is finally allowing their users to opt out of their ad-targeting program. This program uses persistent, undeletable tracking codes on phones. The carrier has been injecting devices with “supercookies”, which is also known as an unique identifier headers (or UIDH), into its network traffic. This enables Verizon to capture information about their customers browsing history, even in incognito mode which doesn’t allow standard cookies to be saved. And that’s also kind of the point about Incognito mode.
If you want to disable the header tracking, you can call 1-866-211-0874 and have them opt you out of the program. Or you can visit their website. Verizon did state that they will stop inserting UIDH’s for customers who decide to opt out of the program. Verizon also states that they do not share information with third parties that can identify their customers. So it does stay anonymous. But that doesn’t make a whole lot of people feel safe, as Verizon can still track what you’re doing on your smartphone.
It’s good to see that Verizon is really letting people opt out now, but then again, how do we know we are really opting out? So what made Verizon change their mind? Well evidently in January, a few democrats in the Senate sent a letter over to Lowell McAdam who is the Chief Executive at Verizon, to demand an explanation for the companies data security and privacy protection practices. Shortly afterwards, Verizon stated that they would allow users to opt out of the Supercookies tracking. However, privacy advocates are still pressing Verizon, and Jacob Hoffman-Andrews a technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation encouraged Verizon to take it a step further, in protection their users privacy and data security.