Verizon Is Monitoring Your Smartphone Activity And Looking To Sell It

Verizon Wireless has been collecting information about its customers' geographical locations, app use, and Web browsing activities. Now, the wireless carrier is looking to sell that information to marketers with its Precision Market Insights initiative. Verizon Wireless has also said it may link the data it has collected to third-party databases that contain information about a user's gender, age, and interests.

Although the Precision Market Insights initiative is sure to raise concerns among users, Verizon Wireless claims it is not violating any laws since the information being collected doesn't reveal customer's identities. Verizon Wireless gives customers the choice to opt out of this data collection, though we're willing to bet many customers aren't aware of the need to opt out should they feel uncomfortable with this policy.

Despite the fact that Verizon Wireless claims it is not violating any laws, there's definitely a gray area here.   The Wiretap Act says carriers may not "divulge the contents of any communication." Some would interpret the sharing of which websites a customer visits as violating this act, even if the data is collected from multiple people and combined before it's offered for sale. In order to satisfy the Wiretap Act and avoid violations, Verizon Wireless has updated its privacy policy to provide consent for its Precision Market Insights program.

On its website, Verizon Wireless assures customers it is committed to protecting customer's privacy:

"At Verizon, we are committed to protecting the privacy of customer information. The information that is shared to provide insightful data to businesses is provided solely on an aggregated basis—as a means to enhancing the overall media experience and connected dialogue between growing businesses and consumers. Data is not included from individual Verizon Wireless customers who choose not to participate."