Verizon Planning To Snoop Customer Usage And Sell It To Advertisers

Oh Verizon Wireless, must you be so nosy? It's one thing for the government to spy on our every movement under the guise of great justice and all that jazz, but in attempt to fatten shareholder's wallets, Verizon is "enhancing" its Relevant Mobile Advertising program by spying on its customers and selling their usage habits to partners with relevant wares to sell.

"In addition to the customer information that's currently party of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites," Verizon has begun telling its customers, according to the Los Angeles Times. "This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network."

Verizon Wireless
Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart)

You read that correctly -- Verizon is not only snooping your mobile activities, but also keeping a beat on what you do on your PC as well, even if your PC is hooked up to the Internet via wired or Wi-Fi without the aid of Verizon.

LAT claims Verizon's taking a shady approach to its new data mining activities by automatically downloading and installing software to computers, sometimes unbeknownst to the customer. This is an opt-out type of program, meaning that users need to take proactive steps to prevent Verizon from doing this.

Verizon isn't the only one to engage in targeted advertising. Google is the guru of targeted ads, but Google also offers a plethora of free services. That's a key difference here -- if Verizon were to offer a larger data cap in exchange for participating in this program, there wouldn't be much to gripe about. However, there's no value add for its consumers -- unless you consider potentially relevant ads a value add -- and it's being pushed onto subscribers on an opt-out basis -- boo!