Verizon criticized for selling app usage and web browsing data

by: J. Angelo RacomaOctober 16, 2012

If you’re a Verizon subscriber, you may just have reason to be concerned. Starting this October, Verizon has been offering reports to marketers that show what Verizon subscribers are doing on their smartphones, including app usage and mobile web browsing data.

“We’re able to view just everything that they do,” boasted Bill Diggins, who heads the marketing initiative in the U.S. called Precision Market Insights. “And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil,” Diggins said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has criticized the move as a violation of federal wiretapping laws, which stipulate that telecommunications carriers may not “divulge the contents of any communication.” However, Verizon says the customer information is aggregated, and that no user-identifiable information and identities are revealed.

The Precision program complies with the law and protects the privacy of our customers. The reports available through the program will not disclose the content of specific customer communications because each report will contain aggregate data from a large number of customers to protect privacy. Customers who do not want their data used as part of the program can opt-out at any time.

CNet likens the move to how Google and Facebook collect information from users and monetize these through ads and other marketing initiatives. However, the difference is that Verizon — and other telecommunications carriers — are paid subscription fees, which means they should not be looking into other means to monetize their users’ usage.

Any Verizon users out there? Are you concerned that Verizon might be selling your information?

  • saw

    Maybe the bill will be lower

    • droidtomtom

      HAHA! That made me laugh. So that is the service and administration activities that those service charges on Verizon bills pay for.

  • DannyDeVideo

    I’m sure they are going to be amazed on the data of food pictures with filters via instagram, liking facebook photos of food posts from instagram and tweets of photos people have uploaded on instagram. Then they will find that people like watching porn with dolphin browser more than chrome. Definitely going to be a shocker.

    • spunker88

      Only because it supports flash player.