Verizon eats its supercookies: Lets users opt out of ID tracking

Verizon said on Friday it will soon launch an program that will allow its customers to opt out of “supercookies,” a pervasive customer tracking tool that records all activity on the mobile web or mobile apps. Verizon customers today can already opt out of receiving advertising drawn from these supercookies – known in the industry as unique ID headers, or UIDH – but the profiles persist and will continue to collect consumer data even though Verizon says its not doing anything with it.

Changes to its opt-out program, however, will let customers remove those supercookies from their devices. Here’s the statement given to us by [company]Verizon[/company] spokeswoman Debra Lewis:

Verizon takes customer privacy seriously and it is a central consideration as we develop new products and services. As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus.

We listen to our customers and provide them the ability to opt out of our advertising programs. We have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH, and expect that to be available soon. As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs.

[company]AT&T[/company] announced in November it would stop using Supercookies entirely, so Verizon isn’t going as far as it could. In general, most consumers tend to ignore these opt out programs because they know little or care little about how the technology works. As my colleague Jeff John Roberts pointed out in a post this week, though, changes to net neutrality rules may force Verizon’s hand.

Quick Tip: Opt Out of iAd Data Collection

It’s been a little over a week since Apple started rolling out iAd, its new advertisement feature for iOS 4. The first ads started to appear on July 1. However, for some, iAd brings up a privacy concern, so we show you how to opt out.