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Verizon tweaks privacy policy; starts sharing your location, web history and more with advertisers

October 17th, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Verizon Wireless began alerting its customers of changes to its official privacy policy on Friday. The carrier confirmed it will now use information for “private business and marketing reports” and “making mobile ads more relevant.” Verizon Wireless will share the URL of websites you visit, the location of your device, as well as app and device feature usage. It will also share information on data and calling features and your demographic so that it, and outside firms, can create reports and target ads more efficiently. Read on.

Verizon did say, however, that it will not share any information that will identify its customers personally. “Protecting data and safeguarding privacy are high priorities at Verizon,” the company said in a statement to BGR. Instead, the information will be used to generate reports that may, for example, state that 5,000 of its customers visited ESPN during any given month and 89% were men.

“A local restaurant may want to advertise only to people who live within 10 miles, and we might help deliver that ad on a website without sharing information that identifies you personally,” Verizon Wireless explained in the notice.

If you are worried by the changes, you can stop Verizon Wireless from collecting your personal information by visiting http://www.vzw.com/myprivacy. Read on for a full statement on the changes, provided to BGR by Verizon Wireless.

Protecting data and safeguarding privacy are high priorities at Verizon. Verizon Wireless recently introduced a new program that involves the creation of new types of aggregate business and marketing reports.  For the business and marketing reports offered by Verizon Wireless, records about websites visited, cell phone locations and other consumer data will be combined (or aggregated) to compile reports that provide businesses with insights about their customers.   In addition, Verizon Wireless and Verizon Telecom also introduced new ways to advertise to mobile users and wireline broadband customers.

For example, these insights may include the demographics (age ranges, gender, etc.) and interests (such as “pet lovers” or “tennis enthusiasts”) of visitors to a Web site, or commuters who might pass an outdoor billboard.  These aggregate reports could be used by web publishers to help provide content that is more appealing to users, or to help advertisers better select the ads they will display on outdoor billboards or at other venues.

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