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Verizon and AT&T are selling your personal data to advertizers: here's how to stop that

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Verizon and AT&T are selling your personal data to advertizers: here's how to stop that
If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, you might not know that the carrier is selling your usage data for money. Anonymized location data, age, gender, usage habits, sports teams, dining and others are all sold to advertizers. Virtually the same data selling scheme occurs at AT&T. Now that you know, you might actually not like this idea, and luckily there is a way to opt out, but the urgency is higher on Verizon.

Big Red has a policy under which you have 30 days to opt out of having your data sold to advertizers, otherwise your data is sold. Mobile developer Bryan Clark read the fine print and found about this, and here is the warning and the solution. For AT&T, you don’t have the 30-day limit, but still the carrier’s is pretty much the same as the one on Verizon.

“The quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location and amount of use of the telecommunications services you purchase” can all be tracked and sold, according to Verizon’s terms.

If you want to opt out of that, here is a link where you can do so:

39 Comments
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posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:02 12

1. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Simple, really; Stop using them!!!

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:45 15

12. The_Innovation (Posts: 563; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)


It's simple, kill the batman.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 11:24 1

16. 2LiveStu (Posts: 5; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


this comment amuses me

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:03 1

2. AdamW33 (Posts: 39; Member since: 25 Aug 2011)


I clicked on the VZ link but don't see where to opt out...

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 11:18 3

15. tgtftw (Posts: 31; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


You first need to sign into your MyVZW account then it will take you to the page where you can select whether or not you want to share your info. You have to choose Save for each category in order for it to process correctly.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 12:45 1

21. ayephoner (Posts: 837; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


im glad I read your comment. I changed them all then clicked save at the bottom. It even displays a message saying your changes have been saved.

Such a typical Verizon move. They'll do anything to convince you you've done what you wanted, but the reality is whatever is in their business's best interest.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:03 3

3. thachlel (Posts: 68; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)


Thanks for the info! I just followed the link n requested to strict not to .....

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:03 4

4. THETECHTEAM (Posts: 82; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)


WHO CARES!!! VERIZON ATT ALL COMPANIES HAVE SOMETHING THEY HIDING!!

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:32 7

9. johnny9000 (Posts: 44; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)


Comments like yours is exactly why working customer service for a cell phone company is such a awful job. "What are you hiding from me?" "Why are you stealing my money?" Blah blah blah. Take a few pills.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 12:48 2

22. ayephoner (Posts: 837; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


It should be an awful job. they are the front line between greedy, lying businesses and consumers.

im never intentionally rude to them. I know its just a job, but when consumers are frustrated with their awful business practices, they have absolutely no one else to communicate with about it.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 14:18 1

29. RomeoJDR (Posts: 237; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)


I care. All companies will try to make an extra buck and am thankful for this article bringing it to my my attention so I can do something about it at least in this instance. If they want to make money of my usage info then I better see a break in my bill, which obviously doesn't happen.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:05 6

5. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


First Apple patented remote disabling system for the government. Now AT&T and Verizon sells your info. Seriously, there something wrong with U.S. right now.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:13 3

6. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


You just figuring that out? Check this out...
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 20:35

33. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Wow, I post a link and P.A. bans me for a week....good ole, ignoramuses...

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:18 2

7. jbjr43 (Posts: 48; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)


I just went to VZW's website by following the posted link and logging in. There are three sections available. If you choose to opt out, you must save changes on all three by clicking on "Save Changes" beneath each section.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:18 3

8. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)


thanks for the heads up PA

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:34 1

10. johnny9000 (Posts: 44; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)


This entire article is perfect cannon fodder for the ultra paranoid. I was with Verizon for 7 years, never opted out, and guess what? Never got any advertising because of them. Who cares.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:44 3

11. The_Innovation (Posts: 563; Member since: 18 Jul 2012)


Done. I always wanted to do this, never could find the proper link to do it.

Thank you!

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 10:58 3

13. sleepyjohnny (Posts: 151; Member since: 16 Dec 2009)


I really don't even see a problem with this. I'd rather they sell my anonymous data, than me pay even more a month. It has no affect on me whatsoever. If you're not being tracked down somewhere, you're being track in other places. They can't see private information, they can only see unconnected inpersonal data usages.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 11:03 5

14. e_photo867 (Posts: 7; Member since: 10 May 2012)


So basically this is the legal way to steal your information and money

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 11:29 1

17. ChrisG (Posts: 36; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


Good article, though it's "advertisers," not "advertizers."

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 12:41 1

20. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Grammar police... plull over!!! lol...

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 14:11

28. JunitoNH (Posts: 927; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


Darn man you beat me to it. One thing about their articles, informative and lots of grammatical errors. Sir, +1 for you. The force won't be with you next time.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 18:45

32. Bernoulli (Posts: 1451; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


They always make some type of typo, it's natural, they're probably using an iDevice

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 12:18 2

18. moofoodooloo (Posts: 137; Member since: 04 Jan 2011)


#1 and #2 in the highest rate plans, and then selling personal info on the backside.. Remember when Verizon was going to charge a convenience fee for customers to pay their bills online? So creative.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 12:32

19. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 245; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


If they're going to be making money off of me besides me paying them and buying their products by selling my data to advertisers, they need to discount my bill. So of course I opted out.

Bu if they said, "we want to sell you data, but we'll take a huge percentage off your bill as compensation if you opt in." Then hell yeah, I'll do it, then I'll just get that call blocker app on my phone so I won't get calls from the people they sold my info to.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 13:08

25. sleepyjohnny (Posts: 151; Member since: 16 Dec 2009)


The information they're collecting is all anonymous. They wouldn't be able to contact you regardless

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 13:02

23. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 629; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


This isn't new, I had opted out of this many moons ago. I had this Opt out thing pop up one month I was about to pay my bill online so I just opted out of the first two, since those two can identify you almost personally and the 3rd is just for actual relevant to my tastes according to my use of other companies. Relax people, they didn't actually hide this but why is PA running this like some fear mongering story "you have 30 days to opt out..." If that was true then we would not be able to opt out now since I can vaguely remember the exact month I opted out, it's been way more than 30 days.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 13:07

24. thatjackal (Posts: 15; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


They informed me about this constantly on my bills online months ago... but If Verizon can somehow benefit off the fact I use the overwhelming majority of my data from them to look at porn, and then manage to profit off of that information... more power to them, lol.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 13:20

26. smallcolabear (Posts: 81; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)


they sent me physical mail stating this and I opted out of it they also send me an email everytime a phone is upgraded on my account to a smartphone. Im with Verizon. they give me plenty of opportunities to opt out before they do it.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 13:22

27. ghostkilla1388 (Posts: 50; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


What if im on Page Plus? That uses verizon towers,.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 15:44

30. azrael162 (Posts: 6; Member since: 20 Jun 2011)


This type of practice is far from new, however Verizon is very proactive in notifying customers about these practices. Yearly, a notification is mailed out to customers reminding them of this practice, and giving them options to opt out. It is also printed in the bill statements. The data being collected and sold is anonymous, much like census data collected by the US government, and is used for tracking trends to make marketing and advertising more effective for consumers. As far as I know, every carrier engages in this practice, but not every carrier gives you easy options to opt out (if the option is available at all), and most other companies in service industries do so as well. It's just the nature of the business world today.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 17:44 1

31. jkwok16 (Posts: 2; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


Thanks PA. I did that via your link. Screw them!!

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 20:36

34. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


from their website:
"AT&T Privacy Policy
Privacy Commitments

AT&T takes your privacy very seriously. Our customers told us they want to see clear, easy-to-read information about our privacy commitments and policy. We have made our privacy policy easier to find and easier to read. And we're listening. We welcome your questions and feedback on our privacy policy, and invite you to contact us.

Our privacy commitments are fundamental to the way we do business every day. These apply to everyone who has a relationship with AT&T — including customers (wireless, Internet, digital TV, and telephone) and Web site visitors.

We will protect your privacy and keep your personal information safe. We use powerful encryption and other security safeguards to protect customer data.
We will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period.
We will fully disclose our privacy policy in plain language, and make our policy easily accessible to you.
We will notify you of revisions to our privacy policy, in advance. No surprises.
You have choices about how AT&T uses your information for marketing purposes. Customers are in control.
We're listening. You can send us questions or feedback on our privacy policy."

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 20:37

35. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


From the opt out website:

CPNI Restriction Request Form

Please complete and submit the form below to restrict AT&T's use of your Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) for the purposes of offering new types of products and services to you from the AT&T family of companies. † Restricting our use of your CPNI will not eliminate other types of marketing contacts from AT&T, nor will it eliminate our use of your CPNI to offer additional services of the type you already purchase from AT&T.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 20:38

36. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Now, the only customer who AT&T will sell your info to is our government, and that was proven a few years ago, thanks to the Patriot Act.

You do not have to fear AT&T, but you should fear the government.

posted on 10 Oct 2012, 20:40

37. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


PhoneArena you better not give me a warning for this as this information is pertinent:
http://www.skipmcgrath.com/articles/credit-bureau-selling-information.shtml

You need to worry about our government, credit bureaus, and any financial institution. They do sell your information.

posted on 11 Oct 2012, 05:37

38. roscuthiii (Posts: 1838; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Well, I just went to the Verizon link and they are telling me, "The activity you are trying to perform is currently unavailable. Please try again later."

(I don't think they liked people opting out...)

posted on 11 Oct 2012, 17:43

39. dragonstkdgirl (Posts: 144; Member since: 07 Apr 2012)


I was going to read the article but now I can't stop shaking my head. "Advertizers", really?

*advertisers. Fixed.

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