I Didn’t Realize Verizon Wireless Was Tracking My Web Browsing

I didn’t realize this – even though I think I’m super-vigilant: according to today’s nytimes.com, Verizon Wireless has an on-going, two year ad-targeting program which tracks users web searches on their mobile phones.  According to the article, the technology “involves injecting a header containing a unique, anonymous identifier into a Verizon Wireless user’s request for a web page.” You can opt out of the program, which I did (more below), but even if a user opts out of the program or changes the phone’s privacy settings, Verizon still tacks an identifier on to the user’s web browsing for “other authentication purposes,” such as logging in to Verizon’s apps. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, Verizon’s ad-targeting and user-web-search logging program is meant to serve advertisers, not users. According to the EFF, “this tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors’ web browsing habits without their consent.” So, to disable Verizon’s tracking of my phone’s web browser, I went to its web site, and from my phone dialed (866) 211-0874 to opt all the phones on my plan out of its program.   According to Verizon, on that page, “when a customer opts out, our partners receive no information, anonymized or otherwise, about...

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