Verizon Is About To Start Spamming You More Accurately

Posted by on October 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Today I got an email from Verizon, my mobile carrier of choice, regarding their use of my usage.

In that email, they described ways they’re going to start using my mobile data to mess up my life.

Read on for details.

In the email I received, Verizon states that they want to use my usage data to make the advertising they present to me “more relevant”. We all know that really means they’re planning on giving my demographic and usage information to their marketing people who will then use it to decide which kind of spam advertising they’re going to send me.

Here’s what they had to say.

Today we want to tell you about some important updates relating to two new uses of information. Verizon Wireless will begin using the information described below for (1) certain business and marketing reports and (2) making mobile ads you see more relevant. If you do not want us to use this information for these purposes, you can let us know by using one of the options described in the “Your Choices” section of this notice. This supplements our Privacy Policy.

“Supplements our Privacy Policy”, in my opinion, means “renders everything we’ve told you moot”. Notice how they say “certain business and marketing reports” here. I take that to mean “everyone who will pay us for your data”.

Am I wrong?

They go on to say:

Verizon Wireless will use the following categories of information:
Mobile Usage Information:
Addresses of websites you visit when using our wireless service. These data strings (or URLs) may include search terms you have used
Location of your device (“Location Information”)
App and device feature usage
Consumer Information:
Information about your use of Verizon products and services (such as data and calling features, device type, and amount
of use)
Demographic and interest categories provided to us by other companies, such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner (“Demographics”)

Addresses of websites I visit and search terms I use? I don’t want people having that information. I do a lot of topical research from my phone and I don’t really want the whole marketing world knowing what I’m planning on writing about. Just because I’m doing searches for MMO statistics or the sales figures for a certain type of product doesn’t mean I want to have that product spammed at me…it just means I have work to do.

Also, I don’t really want my location being tracked unless I want it tracked. If I’m going off into the mountains by myself, that’s one thing. I don’t want everyone in the world knowing which massage parlors I get my happy endings at, though.

Of course they go on to tell me that all of these statistics are anonymous and they don’t share my personal information, etc…I say HOGWASH! That data has to go somewhere!.

Fortunately Verizon is giving customers the ability to opt-out on a per-line basis by going to your account settings and making a quick selection. Just make sure you do, unless you want your shoe size and underwear preference being shared with the world.

Stupid spam.

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  • Dedren

    I too received this email today and a letter a few weeks back saying the same thing. I love my Verizon service but they do a piss poor job marketing in a way that is not disruptive to what I do. They cater to the advertiser like most other outfits and make loud in your face promotions. This sounds like it would be wise expect that when everyone does it all of them get disregarded the same way. I prefer the way Google typically does their adds in emails, so I have made it a point to opt out of any marketing that tries to grab my attention with flash rather than content. If they improve and this new marketing strategy brings up relevant information I will opt back in, but until then they should probably stick with Google offers and groupon.