Posted: Elliot James | January 30, 2015

News

Verizon’s Giving Users Their Privacy Back

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It has been announced that Verizon will soon be launching the ability for users to opt-out of having an identifier placed on their mobile devices.

In recent security discussions, privacy surrounding supercookies and Verizon have been one key topic. The identifier that has been place on Verizon users' mobile device allows indestructible cookies to be created. These supercookies work to track down where users have been, whether it be Facebook, Twitter or participating in some online shopping.

Sam Greenhalgh, a London-based software developer, originally found the strain of controversial cookies. These supercookies are able to detect online activity in and out of privacy modes selected by users. This is above average and not what a normal cookie is capable of doing. What has been unnerving is that users are now unable to take control of their anonymity on most web browsers.

The collecting of these bits of information, or cookies, can allow third-party groups, like advertiser and other websites the ability to track users' footprints for their own business means. What is striking about supercookies, unlike regular cookies, is that they detect footprints beyond the original website they are linked to and can extend to the users overall online experience.

At this moment, Verizon allows its customers to already have the ability to opt-out of the provider's advertising programs. In an email, however, a Verizon spokeswoman stated, "Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising program."

Previously, privacy advocates had called upon Verizon to dismantle its identifier, arguing that it goes against users' privacy. The decision for an opt-out option from Verizon comes after these claims were made.

So far, Verizon has not released when the identifier opt-out opportunity will be available for customers. Though, customers are presently able to change other privacy options through the MyVerizon website.

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Written by Elliot James

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