For the last month, Verizon Wireless has been notifying customers through email of a major change to its default privacy setting: it will begin collecting your Web browsing history, cell phone location and app usage, for third-party marketing purposes.
You can opt out of such surveillance, although Verizon has promised not to share any identifiable information with these third-party companies.
It wouldn’t be so bad if this change was an opt-in instead of opt-out program. For example if Verizon told customers they could receive a $5.00 monthly discount on their Internet bill if they chose to allow their anonymized personal information to be shared with third-parties there would be little to complain about. Sadly whenever a telecommunications company decides to make sweeping changes to their privacy polices they always make them opt-out ordeals.
I would also like to point out that anonymizing data leaves little comfort these days. Data mining techniques are becomes ever more sophisticated, which allows companies to take mounds of anonymized data and tie that data to specific persons with a high degree of accuracy. Personally I would prefer third-parties not have access to information such as my location or web browsing history.