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Verizon to Sell Your Data to Advertisers

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Verizon Wireless will now sell its subscribers’ browsing data to advertisers, the company announced this week in a change to its privacy policy.

Under the new policy, emailed to account holders, the carrier will begin using usage data on subscribers for “certain business and marketing reports” as well as “making mobile ads you see more relevant.” The information gathered and used for these purposes will include Web browsing, app usage and location data.

In other words, Verizon will track the websites you visit, the apps you use and your location in the world, then sell that information to third-party advertisers to help them create more targeted advertisements. Verizon says that it will not share personally identifying information, so while the browsing data on a given phone will be used to provide focused advertisements on that phone, the advertisers won’t actually be able to link browsing habits to your name.

Despite this, some users will be understandably creeped out by the prospect of having third parties know where they live and what websites they like to visit, especially given the number of high-profile data breaches in which customer databases at large companies have been exposed to spammers.

Fortunately, the company gives you a way to opt out: Just visit vzw.com/myprivacy or call 1-866-211-0874 to change your settings. And if you plan on joining Verizon Wireless in the near future, remember to read the full privacy policy and opt out of anything that makes you uncomfortable.

[Hat tip to Computerworld, which first reported on the change.]

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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