Verizon users are now automatically enrolled in a data collection program tracking information like websites visited and mobile app usage. Recently reported on by Input, the telecommunications company runs a two-tiered tracking program and automatically enrolls every customer in the first tier.
The Verizon Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus programs are a rebranding of Verizon Selects, launched in 2012 to help marketers target smartphone users with increased precision. While customers had the choice to opt in for Verizon Selects, you must manually opt out of the Verizon Custom Experience.
Unlike Verizon Selects, the new programs do not share your collected data with third-party advertisers. Your personal information is only used internally by Verizon. Privacy-minded individuals should still consider opting out if they would rather their data not be collected and stored for months at a time by the telecom giant.
What Information Does Verizon Collect?
Again, every Verizon user is automatically enrolled in the Custom Experience program. This tier does not track as much data as the higher tier, Custom Experience Plus, but the basic tier still logs the websites you visit and the apps you use. According to Verizon, website data is stored “for no more than six months.” A timeline for app data storage is not explicitly stated on the company’s FAQ page.
If you were previously a member of the old Verizon Selects program, the company already grandfathered you into the Custom Experience Plus program. In addition to all the information from the first tier, Custom Experience Plus tracks your device’s location and data about Verizon’s Fios internet services. The program also keeps track of who you’re talking to and when you’re talking to them through call logs. The stored information does not include the content of your calls or texts. Verizon claims that location and phone call data is kept on file “for approximately one year.”
It’s worth noting that Verizon shares select user data with third parties as part of the Identity Verification program. The shared data can include information about your device, account, and user profile.
How Do I Opt Out?
First, log in to your Verizon account through a web browser or the My Verizon mobile app. Select the Account tab, then click Account settings and Privacy settings on the web. For the mobile app, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and Manage privacy settings.
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On the privacy preferences page, web users can choose Don’t use under the Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus sections. On the My Verizon app, toggle any green sliders to the left.
If you would like to remove yourself from the Identity Verification program, toggle the slider to the left on mobile or choose Don’t agree on the web.
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