Verizon's New Digital Ad Plan May Overlook User Privacy

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Verizon is preparing to implement its plans for competing with Google and Facebook on digital advertising. The customer data tracking efforts which it has recently discussed include a collective of data that should allow it to rival two of the biggest global internet companies when it comes to amounting customer information for advertising purposes. While Google collects the majority of its customer information from things like browsing and search history through Chrome and Google Search, Facebook is able to gather its information from all of the data made public via its social media site, while both have more than a few apps that are able to provide the data as well. Verizon had recently made it known as of last week that it wants a share of the digital advertising growth, and it seems to be doing while looking the other way in regards to the privacy of its customers.

Verizon's plans are to combine data from numerous sources, including cookies from the AOL browser, their unique identifier header, and Apple and Google advertising IDs. Verizon isn't stopping there, though, as its plans is to take all of those data sources and further combine them with data from various offline means, like a person's physical address, email address, and what devices they're using, which Verizon already has access to from the get go with their customers, as a physical address and email address are needed to set up a Verizon Wireless service account, and once the account is set up the device type eventually comes into play when a customer finalizes the service activation process.

According to recode, Verizon began vocalizing their plans to some of their service subscribers through emails that were sent out on Sunday, November 13th. Even though they were telling customers about their plans for the new initiatives with which they plan to acquire data and use for advertising, some subscribers is not all subscribers, and as recode notes, grabbing all of this data from consumers through the multiple means which here highlighted requires opt-in consent from the customer as per the FCC's privacy rules. Having said that, policies could very well change after January, and Verizon is not technically obligated to follow these rules just yet as there is no current requirement to adopt them as of right now, and if they're reversed under the new administration, Verizon may not end up needing consent from customers in the long run anyway, which could be a part of why they have initiated the start of these new changes at this time.

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