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Verizon's New Snooping Efforts Draw Fire
Company's Recent Bragging Draws Privacy Attention
by Karl Bode 08:51AM Friday Oct 19 2012
As we recently explored, Verizon's been crowing a lot to the press about their ability to essentially track what everyone is doing all of the time -- then sell that information to marketers, city planners, venue owners, and whomever else wants it under a new division named Precision Market Insights. Verizon insists the opt-out process is easy, but our users have often found it cumbersome. Verizon also insists that the data is aggregated and anonymous, but those claims haven't helped delay the destruction of smaller companies (remember NebuAD? Phorm?) who utterly imploded under media criticism and government scrutiny.

Verizon's doing what those destroyed firms were doing, but on an industrial scale -- and so far the response from government and media appears to be -- nothing. Privacy groups however have noticed, with both Professors and groups like the EFF telling CNET that Verizon's latest deep-packet inspection snoop fest likely violates privacy law:
quote:
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said a wireless carrier that discloses information about which URLs a customer visits could run afoul of the Wiretap Act. In general, the law says, carriers may not "divulge the contents of any communication." "I don't see any substantive difference between collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else," Fakhoury says. "In the end, there is still a capturing of content from the user at some point -- and that's what the potential (Wiretap Act) problem is."
Verizon is so far skirting accusations of breaking the law by failing to disclose how their system works whatsoever, and insisting that their clunky opt-out mechanism is enough to allow them to skirt over and around the Wiretap Act. Efforts meanwhile to impose tougher consumer protections in the new age of snoopvertising continue to be crushed by the combined lobbying muscle of the telecom, marketing, hardware and content industries.

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NPGMBR

join:2001-03-28
Arlington, VA

Re: Verizon's New Snooping Efforts Draw Fire

I have a feeling this is the reason they are having trouble getting their software running in Windows Phone 8 devices. They wanna install this crap and Microsoft is not willing to help them do it.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: Verizon's New Snooping Efforts Draw Fire

I think it's more like Microsoft isn't willing to share the info.

Woody79_00
I run Linux am I still a PC?
Premium
join:2004-07-08
united state
This doesn't suprise me, I am glad I am not longer with either of the "Big 2" (AT&T or Verizon) they just seem to get more crooked by the day....

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI

1 recommendation

They got away with illegal warrantless wiretapping

That set the precedent, now they want to push further to get away with more.

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Re: They got away with illegal warrantless wiretapping

Verizon is thinking "why not make money off it?"

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

EFF lawyer twists logic

"I don't see any substantive difference between collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else,"EFFs Fakhoury says.

There is a substantive difference and only a lawyer working on an agenda would fail to see the difference.

Not that I agree that aggregating info for advertising purposes should be allowed, but it isn't the same as gathering info on individuals for other purposes like lawsuits or law enforcement.
--
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-plat···onalism/

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

Re: EFF lawyer twists logic

said by FFH:

"I don't see any substantive difference between collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else,"EFFs Fakhoury says.

There is a substantive difference and only a lawyer working on an agenda would fail to see the difference.

Not that I agree that aggregating info for advertising purposes should be allowed, but it isn't the same as gathering info on individuals for other purposes like lawsuits or law enforcement.

So explain the difference for those non-agenda people who still don't see it.

Verizon selling my data vs Verizon taking my family's data (as a group)....is still taking my data and selling it.

Add in that we are not told or showed HOW Verizon does it?

cabana
Department of Adjustments
Premium,Mod
join:2000-07-07
New York, NY

Lets all just get naked

Perhaps we should all simply be ... "naked" ... all the time.

I mean what's the point really to having clothing?

If I believe the ISP ... they are saying ... ostensibly ain't nothing wrong in being nude ... So why shouldn't the ISP be able to see us nude and report to others how we look. If you can find that there button over there and click on it .. then you can choose to wear clothing ... otherwise we will just assume you are fine with being naked for all to see ... all the time.

I mean really ... how ludicrous ... my wanting to wear clothes ... and keep my legal bits and bobs from their view

Iwant2OptOut

@173.227.18.x

How do you opt out?

So how do you opt out from being snoopvertised besides cancelling the phone contract? Anyone know?

anon

@nycourts.gov

Re: How do you opt out?

You need to have the account owner only logon at to their account at verizonwireless and search for cpni and then you (ostensibly) can opt out eventually. This is making me angry because we are on a family account, my father is the account owner since he was the first one to get a cell phone, but he is still happy with a dumb phone and even though I have full authority to add or delete options on the account, I can't opt out on these privacy setting for my smart phone without bothering him even though I called in and they verified my identity. I am thinking of complaining to the FCC and NYAGs office--I don't like opt out but if legally they need "permission" for this data mining, as a person with full control over the account I should be able to opt out myself.

logicx

@optonline.net

Solution is really simple

Rather than any of these procedures being 'opt out', require anything like this to be 'opt in'. If the telcos and such really want to use the information, let them sweeten the pot to try to get users to do so.

LC8290

join:2003-04-30
Cleveland, TX
Reviews:
·CMA Access

data?

who's paying for all that tracking data going back and forth? what about storage and analysis?

Overpriced data packages And then they sell the "market analysis" and make even more money??

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

What's the big deal?

What the big deal with Verizon doing this when 90% of you use Firefox or Chrome, which tracks and resells info just as much as this crap?

Double standards don't matter much, huh?

Personally,
I wish Verizon and AT&T would just die!! Stupid a** big companies!!
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/

Paul2905845

@maxoncorp.com

Reply - Re: What's the big deal?

Its relatively easy to use firefox extensions to remove things like cache (which may have 'beacons') cookies, flash cookies, and other like things or disallow or control them. Plus, I can use the browser and operating system of my choice on my pc and am able to modify them to my hearts content. These things would be far more difficult or impossible to do with a phone operating system.