Menu
Verizon to allow opt-out from mobile 'supercookies'

Verizon to allow opt-out from mobile 'supercookies'

An identifer on people's phone creates cookies that can't be deleted

Verizon will soon allow customers to opt out of having an identifier placed on their phones that had alarmed privacy advocates due to its ability to let third parties persistently track customers.

The identifier or customer code drew concerns primarily because it created so-called "supercookies" that could not be deleted by users. Verizon customers have had the ability to opt out of the company's advertising programs, but not out of having that identifier placed on their devices.

Now, "we have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH [unique identifier header], and expect that to be available soon," a Verizon spokeswoman said Friday via email. She added that "Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising program."

The Verizon spokeswoman did not say when exactly the opt-out would become available, though she noted that customers can change their privacy choices on the MyVerizon website.

Privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation had called on Verizon to shut down the identifier program, arguing that it violated users' privacy.

AT&T had also at one point tested its own identifier system, which it later dropped amidst privacy concerns.

One advertising company that had been exploiting the identifier, discovered by computer scientist Jonathan Mayer, was Turn. The company tracked users across the web as they visited sites like Facebook, Twitter, Walmart and WebMD, Mayer wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

"The privacy impact also goes beyond individual mobile browsers," he said, referring to the supercookie as a "zombie cookie." "If a Verizon customer tethered with their phone, their notebook could get stuck with the zombie value," he said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacymobiletelecommunicationverizonCarriers

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.​

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments