Really just suggested apps and it can be turned off but I have a feeling this is just the beginning.
I assume everything I do online is somehow being collected and sold so I'm not that concerned with the privacy issues but I do hate how they've turned what used to be a simple operating system into a bloated mess of features I would never use.
First you need to determine if Verizon can just give you the modem without the router, then figure the cost of the modem rental. Another option would be to use your own modem and router. Comcast offers that option, not sure if Verizon does.