Verizon Once Again Expands Its Snoopvertising Ambitions

Karl Bode, reporting for TechDirt: Back in 2008, Verizon proclaimed that we didn't need additional consumer privacy protections (or opt in requirements, or net neutrality rules) because consumers would keep the company honest. "The extensive oversight provided by literally hundreds of thousands of sophisticated online users would help ensure effective enforcement of good practices and protect consumers," Verizon said at the time. Six years later and Verizon found itself at the heart of a massive privacy scandal after it began covertly injecting unique user-tracking headers into wireless data packets. The technology allowed Verizon to track users all over the internet, and the company neither bothered to inform users it would happen, or gave users any way to opt out. It took security researchers two years before security researchers even realized what Verizon was doing. Verizon ultimately received a $1.35 million fine from the FCC (a tiny portion of what Verizon made off the program), but still uses the same tech (albeit with functioning opt-out) today. A few years later and it's not clear Verizon has actually learned all that much. The company last week began expanding its data collection and monetization once again, this time via a new "Verizon Custom Experience" the company says will help it "personalize our communications with you, give you more relevant product and service recommendations, and develop plans, services and offers that are more appealing to you." In reality that means Verizon is expanding the collection of data on the websites you visit, the people you communicate with, and the apps you use.

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