Why is the new Verizon privacy policy scary?

New privacy terms from Verizon will allow the carrier to gather your mobile browsing history in order to aid in market research and in targeting mobile ads more effectively...
This is a discussion for a news article. To read the whole news, click here


1. Gawain

Posts: 438; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

I received a very detailed email from Verizon Wireless about the updated policy. It's straight forward and makes sense. If it steers product ads my way that I might actually be interested in, I don't have too much of an issue with it. It's not like this data isn't already collected by the OS, web-sites, et al already. This new VZW policy isn't the maze of different settings/garbage one would encounter on sites like Facebook or through the myriad of Google services.

2. Jerry209

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 17, 2011

Im going to see alot of PORN ADS.. ..LOL

3. belovedson

Posts: 1061; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

why would any person want advertisement your way???? who the f likes commercials or popups. our habits and data should be left private. nuff said. you want to know my business pay me or get to know me. if verizon has our best interests. stop trying to sell us stuff, remove all bloatware, collect the bill and lay the f off

4. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

You realize that this site is free, as are most on the Internet because of advertising? Advertising subsidizes your cable bill, keeps radio free, and subsidizes the cost of a newspaper or magazine. No one likes ads, but they exist for a reason, and do give value to you. They aren't just a nuisance.

7. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The difference is that the ads on PA are not targeted based on my browsing history. An advertiser pays one rate for each exposure, another rate for each follow-through click, and, and, and. Further, the opt-out option is probably buried at the end of a 42 page contract terms and conditions. Ever wade through the whole 42 pages? Keeping track of my browsing history is heading down a slippery slope. But then, I am not on VZW at present.

8. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

It's only a slippery slope if you don't know what's happening and have no control over the matter. Verizon is being open about what it is doing, how it uses data, and has been open about the change in the policy and how to opt-out. There's nothing buried in terms of service. This is how companies should act. Then the decision is on us. Besides, would you rather see ads that have nothing to do with you, or ones that you may actually want to see?

9. Penny

Posts: 1850; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Yeah, I was about to say that last point there Michael. It's the notion of one's privacy being invaded that makes people react so unfavorably to stuff like this. However, people should know that this information is not used to identify the individual in any way - they really could care less about the individual behind the phone. All they do is create software that collects the information that will allow them to target ads more effectively so they can put your device into some categories. Then, when an advertiser wants to reach people in a specific category, they simply distribute the advertisement to devices that fall under that category. In the end, this doesn't change the way the individual uses the phone, and in fact it may make your experience better. You are going to get ads either way, the question is whether you would rather get ads that are completely random or somewhat useful to you.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Lol all in honesty I would rather nor see ads period! But that's not going to happen and I see your point for sure.

23. DoctorD0S

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

I am not sure why you are shilling for VZW. PA is a very different situation than VZW. This is just a money grab for them. Personally I have no issue if they want to do this, but they should make it opt in, or opt in with some type of benefit to the consumer. I agree that this is just a slippery slope, and having them aggregate this data simply opens up the potential risk for misuse, either by VZW or by a cyber attack that liberates this data for people we really don't want using it.

25. ggp unregistered

I'm not sure PA's ads are not targeted... I've always seen carrier/device related ads, but I recently did a google search for a Trane Thermostat, and as I type this, I'm looking at an American Standard Heating & Airconditioning ad on PA's site... I think a lot more of our information is gathered than we have any clue of. At least VZW is telling us they're doing it. And personally I could care any less than when the guy I don't know across the street sees me walk in to Starbucks. People know what you're doing, they just don't know who you are. That's life.

18. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

It also puts money into MichaelHeller's pockets on an ongoing basis. Never bite the hand that feeds.

30. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Really? How much is Verizon paying you for the article?

5. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I don't mind this. Never minded getting "targeted" ads (though having a single status on Facebook produces annoying dating site ads). In fact, I find them amusing, and I like that the companies who do this are at least trying to present ads for things I might actually want. Another good article, Michael. I value my privacy (who wouldn't with a username like Sniggly?) but I know that I can't be a complete ghost and still live a connected life.

15. vantenkiest

Posts: 316; Member since: Apr 20, 2011

having anything other than married does that.. Currently i have its complicated things are going good but they are VERY complicated at the moment and all of a sudden its trying to get me to add yet another person to my relationship or something...

31. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Sure you don't mind. I'm pretty sure you'd foam at the mouth for Motorola advertising.

33. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Not as much as you'd foam over ads for half naked sweaty men in loincloths and speeds grappling and groping each other. ;)

35. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Gee Sniggy, if that's what you think about all day, then fine by me. Just don't try and include me in your fantasies.

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

How much money do the carriers have to make???? Go over the data bucket, and you get charged. Exceed minutes in your particular plan, and you get charged. WTF! When does it stop?

17. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

You don't have to have wireless service -- it's a choice that you make. The pricing is spelled out and you should read the contract before you sign. After my contract with Verizon expired, I went to prepaid and only use the phone with friends and familly that have Verizon since it's only $1 a day. I have 300 minutes with my unlimited 3G data data at $25 a month with Virgin. The rest is using Facetime with my iPod Touch or iPad 2. If you can't afford the service, go back to landline.

20. PotDragon

Posts: 214; Member since: Jul 22, 2011

300 minutes a month is not "service". Ten minutes a day is not a limit that most people with a life can live with. Additionally...who wants to only call friends & family with vzw? Yeah...that sounds convenient . I find it amusing that you have a SLOW 3g phone that you cannot use...but somehow feel yourself a wise consumer. I am willing to bet you have a cheap pos handset too. Although...it might be funnnier to hear you have a 299 phone with 30 bucks of "service". Life is too short to spend worrying what carrier the phone I am calling is on.

28. BlowJobs

Posts: 25; Member since: Jun 30, 2011

You are obviously very short sighted. Not everyone will like what you like and if you get a kick out of spending $90 a month for "service" on your FAST 4g phone, that's your problem.

11. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

No, I don't like this at all! My wife used our iPad to shop for a purse online and all of a sudden...EVERY FREAKIN AD that comes to this damn thing has purses all over it! It's annoying as hell, it's not targeting me, the one who uses the ipad 99% of the time, at all!

12. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Lol, there are kinks in the algorithm which can be sorted out, but the overall idea is good.

14. vantenkiest

Posts: 316; Member since: Apr 20, 2011

dude love the icon youre using right now from Iron Giant :D my nephew loves that movie :D

16. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

It's one of my favorites. The guy who made Iron Giant is also responsible for The Incredibles and Ratatoullie. He's an amazing writer and director.

19. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Quick movie trivia: What action movie star provided the voice of the Iron Giant??? (No IMDB!) Answer: Vin Diesel

13. vantenkiest

Posts: 316; Member since: Apr 20, 2011

the only issue i have with it is this... It counts towards your data usage. what verizon takes from your phone and service counts as you "uploading" data.. therefore a higher usage rate. i know i didnt use 3 gigs this month. i keep pretty careful track of what i do when im not on wifi which is 98% of the time. I download a lot while sitting at home connected to only my wifi but i browse very little while im out and about i use the gps and watch the rates very carefully. trying to plan out my next tier of service so i dont over shoot or undershoot and have to pay overages once i upgrade. in terms of the ads i get on my device i root and use ad blocker so whatever. even still i ignore most ads i just use what i need and want i decide for myself what i might wanna buy the ads are just blank blocks in my way.

26. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Do you have a reference for that? I would have assumed Verizon would just monitor your history on its end, so it wouldn't add anything to your data usage.

21. whythename

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

The service is overpriced to begin with. Its ridiculous for companies to expect double digit growth year over year. Verizon already charges you for service why should they get to push ads your way too? If they want to rethink their billing strategy to lower cost to consumers this is advantageous, otherwise is just plain double dip greed!

22. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

This privacy is not now, nor is it anytime soon, going to be an easy problem to solve. Surf the internet on your computer? You have to worry about your data. Use GPS? Garman, Tom-Tom, whatever, you have to worry. Time code your photos on your digital camera or your cell phone? Yep, lose sleep on that one. Use a land line for phone calls? It is still tracked and useful to someone somewhere. One of the cable companies was trying to sell me services in a Walmart and asked for my S.S.N. I was buying a used DVD at a movie rental place where we did not have an account and they wanted my phone number. I was buying a backpack at a sporting goods store, and the cashier was insisting on my home address for their computer at check-out. It is nuts. I will echo a lot of other people: At least Verizon is being honest. But I sure do want to say no.
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