Consumers can now completely opt-out of the controversial Verizon “supercookies” program. Part of an ad-targeting mobile program to track consumer activity, the controversial “supercookies” have spurred much debate regarding consumer privacy. The actual tracking system uses a “unique tracking identifier” which attaches a code to a customer’s online activity. This tracking system and recording of customer information obviously raises some red flags in regards to privacy and cyber-security.
Cnet weighed in that, “They could potentially be used by hackers to track your activities, according to privacy experts.”
ZDnet pointed to another large problem with Verizon’s use of these supercookies. Unlike other cookies, these are virtually indestructible. That, in addition to users’ inability to completely opt-out of the program, present a disturbingly lack of control for customers.
Verizon faced a bout of backlash late last year when the program was first revealed to the public after having been in use for over two years. Despite the public’s response and AT&T’s choice to shut down a similar program they were implementing due to consumer concerns over privacy, however, Verizon did not follow suit. Instead, the company chose to give users the ability to opt-out of the marketing component while still recording their data in the tracking system.
Now, however, Verizon seems to be changing their tune and will be allowing customers to completely leave the supercookies program instead of just partially.
New York Times reported that “…even if Verizon now allows subscribers to opt-out of having their online activities tracked using a unique customer code, that option may not satisfy privacy advocates who say consumers are unlikely to understand the implications of default tracking.”
It seems Verizon will have to take some serious measures to reaffirm consumer faith in their brand and to alleviate these privacy concerns. Now more than ever, consumers are in need of reassurance that their personal information and privacy are being protected, not exploited.
Photo Credit: Mike Mozart