Verizon Communications is finally announcing some good news for their customers, giving them the option of turning off the so-called “supercookies”. They received strong criticism from agencies advocating consumer privacy all around the country for their ability of monitoring their users’ online movements.
Upon finding out about the supercookies (officially called Unique Identifier Headers), users grew concerned about Verizon and At&T “spying” on their Internet browsing. However, company representatives explained that data collection has a very specific reason: Verizon uses it to analyze the general interests of its users, in order for the advertisers to be able to produce more target-focused ads in the future.
The general tendency of criticism against supercookies has its reasons. By tracking links and websites for compiling a useful database for advertisers, the same supercookies can be accessed by not-so-well-intended hackers, who are therefore able to take stalking potential victims to a whole new level. Furthermore, clients were concerned about the level of difficulty in removing supercookies, unlike the regular ones.
Verizon’s supercookies need a more complicate method for disabling: you either unsubscribe from the Precision Market Insights program by accessing the company’s Wireless Web portal, or you test your patience by contacting a customer service over the phone.
Due to the general complaint about the supercookies, Verizon is now developing an easier way for removing them, enabling you to choose if you want them or not. Debra Lewis, spokeswoman for Verizon, assures their customers that the new opt-out setting will be available soon. In the same statement, Lewis tried to calm the customers’ worries by explaining that Verizon is very strict about the policy of not sharing private information to third parties, such as advertisement agencies. In their effort of keeping all the confidential data private, Verizon has announced that the UIDH is changing regularly.
Another reason for the disgruntled public has been pointed out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group advocating for privacy rights, which has strongly criticized Verizon for not being transparent on the usage of supercookies at first, weakening their customers’ trust. They also found legitimate fault with the difficulty of unsubscribing from the program.
The EFF added that, no matter how much Verizon tries to make customers feel safe about the supercookies, they will always be a factor of destroying any sense of anonymity or privacy on the internet.
Image Source: Android Guys
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