Verizon has drawn the ire of its customers and privacy advocates this week because a new initiative launched by the telecom company may violate users’ privacy.
A new marketing program dubbed Precision Market Insights extracts information about Verizon’s customers on Android and iOS platforms including their Web browsing history, apps they access and where they access them. Verizon then feeds that information to its marketers via a monthly report.
Verizon said users can opt-out at any time and that their techniques create “aggregated business and marketing reports” that don’t expressly describe particular users.
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation spoke against the telecommunications company this week, countering that it doesn’t matter if the information is being aggregated. Speaking with CNET yesterday, Fakhoury claimed that the company’s practices could still be deemed unlawful. When a wireless carrier collects and discloses information about its users, notably their personal Web history, it may test the limits of the Wiretap Act.
In what could be viewed as a boastful statement in hindsight, in a talk given by the program’s U.S. leader Bill Diggins in May, Diggins claimed “We’re able to view just everything that they do,” when discussing the marketing initiative. “And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.”