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Verizon Details Their Uses for Location Data
Like Tracking Demographics at Large Events
by Karl Bode 09:31AM Monday Oct 08 2012
Wireless carriers are only just starting to figure out how to cash in on customer location monitoring, selling the data to everyone from marketing departments to city planners. Verizon Wireless has created an entire new division called Precision Marketing to deal with the sale of this data. Fierce Wireless has an interesting conversation with Verizon Wireless's Colson Hillier, who explores some of the new ways Verizon's making money from your data -- like keeping demographic stats on event attendees:
quote:
One vertical is a venue--like a sports stadium, a college campus or ski area. When we were testing this we partnered with a professional sports team to help them better understand their audience and figure out better ways that they could deliver value to their sponsors and their consumers. We looked at the clusters of demographic makeup for each of their events and found out interesting things about the types of consumers that attended their events--from what type of event, the time of day, their record and other environmental conditions that were occurring in their market.
You can imagine that governments and intelligent agencies will be first in line to buy data on who attends what events or political rallies. While there remains no serious consumer protection laws in place to protect consumers in this brave new frontier, Verizon is one of several companies promising that you can trust them to keep this data anonymous and secure:
quote:
Click for full size
We are definitely concerned about maintaining a trusted privacy relationship with consumers. We have a mantra that we use: transparency, choice and control for the consumer. In the case of aggregated and anonymous data, we treat that as an opt-out model for our consumers. We provide multiple forms of notification, electronically and through the mail. Customers can make privacy choices online and through our call centers. We take it very seriously.
Those promises might mean a little bit more if the nation's phone companies hadn't already shown they're happy to help government break wiretap and surveillance laws at every turn. Meanwhile, it would be refreshing to someday see a carrier allow users to opt in to such tracking in exchange for a small monthly discount on their bill. Our users show you how to opt out of data tracking if you're interested.

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Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Comcast
·Verizon Online DSL

1 recommendation

Think of all the work this saves...

Intelligence Agencies and Secret Police!

If this existed in the 60s/70s/80s the East German Stasi and Soviet KGB would be drooling over it, pushing for EVERYONE to have a Cell Phone.

This just makes the job of the NSA/FBI/CIA so much easier. Its probably already been done.

Not being paranoid, just completely rational. Why spend money doing traditional surveillance when you can watch someone from a screen?

AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Think of all the work this saves...

said by Zenit:

If this existed in the 60s/70s/80s the East German Stasi and Soviet KGB would be out of a job.

fixed
--
--Standard disclaimers apply.--
tpkatl

join:2009-11-16
Dacula, GA

Horrible and scary

If I'm reading this correctly, then anywhere there a lot of people (the mall, church, ball game, rock concert, even the library), Verizon will report to "the authorities" that I am there.

Suppose that I want to attend a conference on Internet Privacy - do you think they'll track the fact that I was there and report it to the FBI? mark me as a rabble rouser....

Something stinks.

seamore
Premium
join:2009-11-02

Re: Horrible and scary

said by tpkatl:

If I'm reading this correctly, then anywhere there a lot of people (the mall, church, ball game, rock concert, even the library), Verizon will report to "the authorities" that I am there.

Suppose that I want to attend a conference on Internet Privacy - do you think they'll track the fact that I was there and report it to the FBI? mark me as a rabble rouser....

Something stinks.

I dont think this is about IDENTIFYING YOU, it's targeting anon users that use these devices. But, then again, there will always be the tin foil hat types.
rdmiller

join:2005-09-23
Richmond, VA
This will tell NASCAR promoters that there are more people standing in line for beer than for sushi.

Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit

Oh Verizon

"Your privacy is important to us.
At Verizon Wireless, we value you as a customer and we know how much your privacy means to you. This notice contains information on Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI). Verizon Wireless needs your permission to share your CPNI within the Verizon family of companies to facilitate the offering of better service packages to you, and you have the right to opt out of such sharing. CPNI will not be shared with unrelated third parties. Please read this notice carefully."

So let's opt you in automatically, because we care.

They also give you instructions on how to opt out.

Bonus - right after they released these instructions the website interface was changed and the instructions were oddly never corrected.

Here is how to actually opt out.

under "I Want To"... "Click Manage Privacy Settings".

Uncheck one button at a time then click save.

Each number you change, you have to do the whole process again because you'll be opt'd in.

--
"If something about the human body disgusts you, complain to the manufacturer" - Lenny Bruce
What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

Re: Oh Verizon

said by Mike:

"Your privacy is important to us.
At Verizon Wireless, we value you as a customer and we know how much your privacy means to you. This notice contains information on Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI). Verizon Wireless needs your permission to share your CPNI within the Verizon family of companies to facilitate the offering of better service packages to you, and you have the right to opt out of such sharing. CPNI will not be shared with unrelated third parties. Please read this notice carefully."

So let's opt you in automatically, because we care.

They also give you instructions on how to opt out.

Bonus - right after they released these instructions the website interface was changed and the instructions were oddly never corrected.

Here is how to actually opt out.

under "I Want To"... "Click Manage Privacy Settings".

Uncheck one button at a time then click save.

Each number you change, you have to do the whole process again because you'll be opt'd in.

I don't want to opt out. I really don't care if they can track me. I have no problem with it.
If the data is used to tailor ads to me that would be even better. If I'm going to have to look at advertisements I would rather it be something I might be interested in.

Michail
Premium
join:2000-08-02
Boynton Beach, FL
kudos:1

Re: Oh Verizon

said by aaronwt:

said by Mike:

"Your privacy is important to us.
At Verizon Wireless, we value you as a customer and we know how much your privacy means to you. This notice contains information on Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI). Verizon Wireless needs your permission to share your CPNI within the Verizon family of companies to facilitate the offering of better service packages to you, and you have the right to opt out of such sharing. CPNI will not be shared with unrelated third parties. Please read this notice carefully."

So let's opt you in automatically, because we care.

They also give you instructions on how to opt out.

Bonus - right after they released these instructions the website interface was changed and the instructions were oddly never corrected.

Here is how to actually opt out.

under "I Want To"... "Click Manage Privacy Settings".

Uncheck one button at a time then click save.

Each number you change, you have to do the whole process again because you'll be opt'd in.

I don't want to opt out. I really don't care if they can track me. I have no problem with it.
If the data is used to tailor ads to me that would be even better. If I'm going to have to look at advertisements I would rather it be something I might be interested in.

I wouldn't want them using my data caps to do it though.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Are there intelligent agencies?

»Verizon Details Their Uses for Location Data
quote:
You can imagine that governments and intelligent agencies will be first in line to buy data
LOL. I dispute there are any intelligent government agencies. Not even the Intelligence Agencies are intelligent.
--
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-plat···onalism/

KoolMoe
Aw Man
Premium
join:2001-02-14
Annapolis, MD
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Understand and shut down

So two primary things I get from this:
As always, gov't and commercial entities want to know more about you - either to ensure you're not a troublemaker or to ensure you will buy something from them. A conspiracy theorist couldn't have come up with a better way to enable this than to make cellphones affordable to everyone.

If any of that bothers you, either don't get cellphone or turn it off if you don't want whoever is watching to know your location...
...that is, assuming 'turning it off' actually turns it off...
KM
--
Don't Lie - Be Kind - Realize your Potential
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Understand and shut down

Well the government has be skirting subpoenas to get information for years. The government wants the data for populace control, because a free society is competition to a always growing government.

Cell phones w/ tracking allow companies "big data" to analyze human movement in effect to create greater efficiency (lower acquisition costs). This will allow more effective marketing, and can provide a great human good if the data is truly anonymous--but yet that is not secure just as when you swipe your grocery card, credit card, etc. If it's electronic, it's being gathered in some big database. For instance if the government used cell tracking data to monitor car movements, they could create more efficient traffic management, plan roadways, change lights, etc. These are good, but as we all know the government cannot be trusted in it's current configuration.

So the only option is cash and a payphone, if you can find one.

We snit on location data, but most people don't know that ANY electronic exchange can be mined for data. Give your email to the Girl Scouts, they sell it to P&G. Swipe you grocery card, sell it to P&G. Swipe your credit card to buy Tide, sell it to P&G. Sign up for a drivers license in NY, they sell your data for money too, including your social security number.

All of these crappily guarded databases could easily be hacked, and criminals could act on them. It's just a newer version of the same old human condition.
ssavoy
Premium
join:2007-08-16
Dallas, PA
Reviews:
·Anveo

Data accuracy?

I'm curious as to how accurate this demographic data is. Most people are on family plans - are they just using the name of the account holder? How would Verizon know personal information about other users on the account other than the account holder?

Thrudd

join:2004-06-21
Mississauga, ON

Re: Data accuracy?

Each phone has its own number - any data miner with two neurons to rub together can figure out who has what phone. Only those people who share phones regularly will muck up the system but who really shares phones/cards/passes like that? It is just short of being chiped but not that different if you think about it.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
Because a teeny bopper goes to Maple Street High and shops at H&M, not me who goes to the grocery store and gas station. They can figure out pretty quickly your demographics based upon your travel habits, times, and locations.

I work w/ big data. It's amazing how by just knowing a few data points, how quickly they can dial into your habits. Once people start using NFC (wallets) the gloves will be off. They won't have to waste time on cross correlation anymore. Location, time, how you got there, what you bought, what you paid for it, what else you bought together, where you bought it).

They don't care about your name, you are simply a human sack of flesh (they don't care about that either) with a wallet to be studied and to be marketed to, to buy useless crap. If they can preface the marketing message w/ your name, even better.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY
said by ssavoy:

I'm curious as to how accurate this demographic data is. Most people are on family plans - are they just using the name of the account holder? How would Verizon know personal information about other users on the account other than the account holder?

This is not a new phenomenon. Back in the 40s or 50s era Science Fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote a story about a computer system that was able to make predictions and was responsible for running the country (or it might have been the world - I forget) and answer any questions it was asked. It collected data and used it for its predictions/answers. As the story starts the computer issues a prediction that someone is going to destroy it and supplies a name of that person. The government arrest that person but that causes the odds of the actual destruction to go up. Just before the time of the predicted event, they discover that it was to be done by the son of the named person. Since the son was not yet 18, his reports were filed for him by his father and the computer was using the father's name for his reports in an effort to cause the son to do the destruction - The only reason the son was doing this was he was following instructions from the computer which wanted to commit suicide and the whole report was issued to cause the son to follow the orders.

Insight6

join:2012-08-25

It's the police that love it.

Actually it is in cases of where the police suspect or want to "prove" your involvement in certain crimes where the information in question can be legally obtained and used against you as needed.

The "government" as used colloquially really isn't that interested. You just aren't that important.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA

So be sure...

to leave your cell phone at home if you don't want to be tracked by the spooks or Verizon.