According to recent statements made by Verizon, its customers will now be able to opt out of the mysterious supercookie that used to track the behavior of users in order to better target advertisements.
Back in 2012, US mobile telco implemented a system where unique identification headers would be latched to each individual http request that users accessing the web through Verizon networks would make. By using these identification headers, ad agencies would have the possibility of identifying a user’s interests (by what he or she would prefer to access) and tailor the advertisement this user would see to his/her individual interests.
This header seemed to be immortal, as neither incognito mode nor the manual deletion of all browser cookies would stop it from gathering information: it was automatically inserted by the carrier. It had been announced that Verizon customers had been given the choice of opting out, but smart networks were still able to track internet users around regardless.
A week ago, things changed. Verizon announced that they are working on a solution that truly allows its users to ditch the cookie. Deborah Lewis, the company spokeswoman, explained that Verizon is working on expanding this “opt-out” solution so that it includes this identifier.
“As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs,”
Verizon’s decision is a result of the permanent pressure that communication companies (such as AT&T, who also use a similar permanent-cookie) have been facing from consumer advocacy groups.
Under Title II of the Communications Act, the FCC would also have the possibility of ensuring that the privacy of consumers is protected: it would be able to enforce rules with all data providers.
“If broadband were a Title II service, Verizon would be violating Section 222 CPNI statutes as well as Section 201 rules against unjust and unreasonable practices,”
Harold Feld told VentureBeat in a statement.
The company made other statements on Friday, insisting on its concern with customer privacy. Verizon noted that while it is developing new services and products, it never loses focus of the seriousness of user privacy.
“As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus,”
the company added.
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