Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Verizon Announces Opt Out Program for Tracking Cookie


Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Verizon Announces Opt Out Program for Tracking Cookie

 
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"Unique Identifier Header." "Zombie Cookie." "SuperCookie." These are just a few of the names given to the anonymous data tracking that Verizon has had in place since the late half of 2014.

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EVDOinfo first reported on11/4/14 that Verizon, as well as AT&T, were attaching a Unique Identifier Header, or UID, to all traffic leaving the Verizon network. This UID allowed Verizon to track data usage, what type of sites were being accessed, where traffic leaving the Verizon network would go, and more. Verizon then would use this subscriber information to provide to advertising companies for targeted advertisements. There are a few websites where you can check this UID and see the data for yourself. Visiting THIS PAGE from your 3G/LTE connection will provide the information related to the UID tracking. Be sure you aren't on WiFi, as this only applies to traffic routed over Verizon/AT&Ts network, not your land line ISP. We've checked a few of our own devices here and we can verify this UID information is in fact present in all cases.

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EVDOinfo then reported the Verizon Zombie Cookie as of 1/16/15. This tracking cookie, which can not be deleted, is there for the sole purpose of tracking users habits on their smart phones and tablets. An online advertising company named Turn, which is a major player in this space hired by Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and more, have figured out a way to use this Verizon tracking data for their own purposes to track users. At this point AT&T had already announced that similar tracking methods were no loner in use, leaving Verizon the standout. Verizon caught a lot of flak for continuing to add information to their network traffic that was following users information and usage habits.

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Today, Verizon has finally stepped into the light and created an Opt Out program for their tracking. Many users aren't aware there is tracking to begin with though so an Opt Out at this point looks like a way to save face for the company vs offering a real solution, but its a step in the right direction nevertheless. In order to Opt Out, there are two methods. First, you can log into your Verizon account. Alternatively, you can call Verizon directly at 1-866-211-0874.

EVDOinfo will continue to follow this data tracking program and report any new information we find. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below!