Verizon Wireless Lets Customers Opt Out of Tracking 'Perma-Cookies'

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Last year, Verizon and AT&T made headlines when researchers discovered they had been engaging in some unsavory customer tracking techniques, using unique identifier numbers or "perma-cookies" to track the websites that customers visited on their cellular devices to deliver targeted advertisements, a practice called "Relevant Advertising."

    Following customer backlash, AT&T stopped using the hidden web tracking codes to keep tabs on the websites that its customers visited, but Verizon continued on with its Relevant Advertising program, which it's been using for approximately two years. While there was an option to opt out of Verizon's program, opting out did not stop the intrusive code from being inserted into the URLs of Verizon customers, leaving a security hole that could let advertisers exploit Verizon customers.

    [​IMG]
    As of today, The New York Times reports that Verizon has given its customers a true opt out option that does not insert the identifying tracking codes (or UIDH) into the URLs of customers who opt not to be tracked, as it promised to do in January.
    Verizon customers can opt out of the Relevant Advertising program by logging into their My Verizon accounts and selecting "Manage Privacy Settings" from the "Manage My Account" section of their user profile. AT&T and Verizon customers are able to check whether their devices are sending identifying codes by visiting a website created by Kenneth White, one of the security researchers who originally discovered the tracking methods. Verizon's tracking programs are automatic opt-in, so many users may need to navigate to the aforementioned page to turn off the tracking.

    Article Link: Verizon Wireless Lets Customers Opt Out of Tracking 'Perma-Cookies'
     
  2. dernhelm macrumors 68000

    dernhelm

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  3. usersince86 macrumors 6502

    usersince86

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    #3
    "As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs."

    "...Hackers, however, have full access."

    :D
     
  4. DoctorTech macrumors 6502

    DoctorTech

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    #4
    Thank you!

    I had not heard about this before reading the article. I just opted out for all the phones and devices on my plan.
     
  5. ReddestDream macrumors member

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    #5
    I was already Opted-Out of everything I could be, and I was pleased to find that my traffic is no longer being altered! ^_^

    i.imgur.com/LGDaJEe.png

    P.S. FYI, yes, this device is jailbroken.
     
  6. techwhiz macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Me too.
    I was already opted out so now it works as it should.
     
  7. kemal macrumors 65816

    kemal

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  8. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

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    #8
    I believe the setting was there before, and I already opted out some time ago, so not quite sure what changed now in relation to it--is it that they applied that already existing setting to something more than what it used to apply to?
     
  9. RayK macrumors 6502

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    #9
    How long did it take to change for you?
     
  10. iUX macrumors newbie

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    #10
    I wish more people would take notice that merely opting out with the language these companies use does not say they will not do it, delete things, stop doing it and will NOT track in any way... They are most likely still recording every single interaction and site.
    :confused:
     
  11. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

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    #11
    Shame there is no way to opt-out of Google or Facebook tracking.
     
  12. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #12
    From the article - "While there was an option to opt out of Verizon's program, opting out did not stop the intrusive code from being inserted into the URLs of Verizon customers, leaving a security hole that could let advertisers exploit Verizon customers."

    So basically yes. With their new opt out, you're actually opted out.

    ----------

    There is for Google. Not sure about FB.
     
  13. waffffffle macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Not working for me.

    I have a Verizon iPad provided by my employer. While I thought I couldn't modify this setting I figured out that I can sign up as a user on the account to monitor my data usage (it involves receiving an SMS on the iPad, which is weird).

    Now that I can log in I can't get this option to show up. When I go to the URL it shows me some text about their privacy policy and location based services, but not the ability to opt out of the tracking header. I know they are appending the tracking header to my device since I can see at the lessonslearned.org/sniff site.
     

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  14. JeffiJers macrumors 6502a

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  15. adamhenry macrumors 68000

    adamhenry

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    #15
    I just opted out. I had to disable my javascript blocker to get it to save.
     
  16. gavroche macrumors 65816

    gavroche

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    #16
    Side note... If we pay that MacRumors membership... does it make those new adds that show up on the iPhone, which make you continue swiping up until they go away, disappear? (i know it is supposed to make normal browser ads go away)...
     
  17. Lazy macrumors 6502

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    #17
    "Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, said privacy is a 'central consideration' for the company when it develops new products and services."

    If she meant they think "how can we maximize our profit from using our customers' private data", then sure. Otherwise that's laughable, as the opposite is obviously the case.
     
  18. iReality85 macrumors 6502a

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    It really is sad how infested the web has become with these trackers. That and studies continually show that the general public is increasingly ok with surrendering their privacy in exchange for convenience.
     
  19. Supermallet macrumors 65816

    Supermallet

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    #19
    Thanks for posting this. I just opted out on all my lines. I'll keep checking the sniffer website for the next few days to make sure it actually goes through.
     
  20. dannyyankou macrumors 604

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  21. iPad Air macrumors regular

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    #21
    QUOTE: In a statement, Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, said privacy is a "central consideration" for the company when it develops new products and services.

    Only after Verizon gets serious backlash for its privacy policies.
     
  22. Raineer, Mar 31, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015

    Raineer macrumors member

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    #22
    Watched that for awhile myself. Was also able to confirm that the same X-UIDH will show on a Wireless-only device if you are tethered to your Verizon LTE device. Stood to reason that would be the case but was interesting to see.

    It's been 20 minutes and the X-UIDH isn't disappearing. I confirmed the change saved on the privacy page, and restarted the phone / cycled airport mode / wireless, etc. No change yet.

    In the midst of these tests, I learned that the VPN tunnel from server->iPhone does not communicate on to a tethered device. I can still see my LTE IP and UID on the tethered device even though my VPN prevents it on the phone.

    Making a second VPN connection on the tethered device was needed. That wasn't intuitive to me and is disappointing :(

    Also - an hour and still no disappearing UID with the preference change. Maybe I'll check tomorrow.
     
  23. mikec999 macrumors member

    mikec999

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  24. discuit macrumors member

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    #24
    Logged in to find that I was already opted out- perhaps because of opting out of CPNI previously?
     
  25. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

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    #25
    What is more disturbing is that someone simply visiting MacRumors without an account and having never signed up for Facebook or Google is now being tracked by Facebook and Google while never agreeing to any ToS.

    ----------

    How do you suggest one do that?

    Someone just visiting the MacRumors front page, never signing up for MacRumors, Google, or Facebook and agreeing to any ToS is being tracked by both Google and Facebook.
     

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