Verizon Wireless Users’ Web Habits for Sale

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Bad news for privacy paranoids: Verizon Wireless is monitoring the web browsing habits of its customers, and plans to sell the data in aggregate.

Under Verizon’s new privacy policy, as noticed by Computerworld, the carrier will collect data on the websites customers are visiting, the apps they’re using and the location of their phones. Verizon will then use the aggregate data for “business and marketing reports” and to sell relevant advertising.

(MORE: Federal Judge: No Warrant? No Location Data)

For instance, Verizon might prepare a report on how many of its male customers visit sports websites in a given month, or it might allow a local restaurant to advertise only to nearby customers.

Verizon customers can opt out of data sharing at Verizon’s website or by calling 1-866-211-0874. However, there’s no way to stop Verizon from collecting the data in the first place. (CORRECTION: A reader points out that you can opt out of both use and collection of browsing and location data.)

Although Verizon says it won’t share user data in a way that’s personally identifiable, privacy policies change. There’s no guarantee that Verizon won’t share users’ data more liberally in the future; they’re already keeping it on file.

Realistically, you’re not likely to notice any of this stuff. And if you’re worried about wireless providers keeping tabs on you, keep in mind that they all do it to some extent. Still, it never hurts to be aware.

(MORE: Your Bill of Rights)

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