Verizon’s Super-Cookies Are A Super Privacy Violation

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

public domain

public domain

You can always tell when a company doesn’t care about customers’ privacy. It’s when it announces that it really cares about customers’ privacy.

“Verizon takes customer privacy seriously,” Debra Lewis, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, declared in a statement Friday. She said privacy “is a central consideration as we develop new products and services.”

Why this reminder of what should require no reminding? Because once again, Verizon Wireless was caught violating customers’ privacy, this time with so-called super-cookies that tracked people’s online behavior and that can’t be deleted from mobile devices.

Those versions of cookies — or “identifiers,” in Verizon-speak — could be used by the company or its marketing partners to see what websites you visit and what pages you linger over. Those data, of course, are a gold mine for Verizon and for anyone trying to sell you stuff.

AT&T had toyed last year with using super-cookies, but dropped the idea after privacy advocates called out the company for overreaching.

Verizon drew the same criticism. But it was further along than AT&T in using the tracking technology and apparently figured the issue was too esoteric for ordinary people to get worked up over.

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