October 16, 2012
Verizon draws fire for monitoring app usage, browsing habits
Verizon Wireless has begun selling information about its customers' geographical locations, app usage, and Web browsing activities, a move that raises privacy questions and could brush up against federal wiretapping law. C/net reports.
The company this month began offering reports to marketers showing what Verizon subscribers are doing on their phones and other mobile devices, including what iOS and Android apps are in use in which locations. Verizon says it may link the data to third-party databases with information about customers' gender, age, and even details such as "sports enthusiast, frequent diner or pet owner."
"We're able to view just everything that they do," Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, told an industry conference earlier this year. "And that's really where data is going today. Data is the new oil."
Verizon Wireless says that its initiative, called Precision Market Insights, is legal because the information is aggregated and doesn't reveal customers' identities. Also, the company says, its customers can opt out at any time.
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