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Verizon wants your browsing history so bad, it created a new program and opted you in

Verizon logo
Verizon logo (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Verizon is collecting information about which sites you visit and apps you use with the Verizon Custom Experience program.
  • The Program will help Verizon provide more relevant ads and recommendations to customers based on their interests.
  • The program automatically ops consumer and small business customers in.
  • Customers can opt out of the privacy settings in the My Verizon app.

Verizon is on a hunt for your data, according to a new program it's informing subscribers about. The Verge reported on a new Verizon Wireless program that automatically opts customers into sharing their data with the carrier.

The Verizon Custom Experience program uses your data to help the company personalize its communication with you to deliver more relevant product and service recommendations. Essentially, it allows the company to build a profile to more effectively advertise to you.

Verizon has followed up by notifying customers that they will be sharing this information and that they may opt-out of the data collection scheme as is their right. Still, many customers will not read or understand this communication Verizon will continue to collect their information.

Verizon is collecting information on which apps you use and which websites you visit. In its FAQ page on the program (opens in new tab) Verizon notes that it does not collect data beyond the first "/" or "?" on the URL meaning it doesn't know precisely which page or article you're viewing.

Information after a "?" in your URL bar is often used to track the source of the visitor. For example, Amazon will include the keywords you used to find a product after the question mark in the URL. Verizon also notes that lines with plans or devices meant for children or people in Maine will not be included.

Almost everything you do on your phone goes through your carrier including which apps you use and which websites you visit. This isn't terribly surprising but what may be unexpected is just how your carrier uses that data.

It is possible to mask your data to an extent with some of the best privacy apps on Android though many people don't want to bother with VPN apps just to keep their information private from their carrier.

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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

6 Comments
  • Does this affect MVNOs?
  • Currently this affects Verizon Wireless customers but other carriers have implemented similar policies so it may be worth double checking in your terms of service. There should be a section on how the company uses your data.
  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this info. I disabled everything. There should be a law against automatic opt-ins!
  • This really isn't new news! I've known about for months, and have it turned off on all phones and modems. One needs to look closely at all of the Privacy settings. If you have their 5G Home wirelsess like I do make sure that you unckeck the allow button on that as well as your other phones. You should post a link to Verizon's web site so those not in the know can turn it off.
  • I didn't know about this but now that I know, I'm so angry Verizon has been doing this and without explicitly mentioning it. I've disabled their tracking but I'm still very upset at the data they've already collected from me. I don't mind Google collecting my data because it serves me well in their apps but I can't think of a single benefit that I get from Verizon tracking what I do online. If Verizon wasn't the absolute best in my area, this would've made me switch.
  • To their credit, VZW sent me an email informing me of this data mining attempt and how to turn it off.
    I reckon that's better than nothing.