Verizon Enrolls Customers Who Opted Out In New Data Gathering Program
(Photo: Dennis Kummer/Unsplash)Verizon has been found sneaking customers into its updated data collection program—including those who previously declined to participate in the program when it was under a different name. The company recently unveiled its Verizon Customer Experience program under the guise that it was entirely new, despite the fact that it’s existed for years with different branding.
Previously referred to as “Verizon Selects,” the program collects information about the websites and mobile apps its customers frequent in order to develop profiles based on their interests. Though the company says it doesn’t sell this information to advertisers, it does share it with service providers hired by Verizon, who can use the information for any purpose Verizon deems reasonable. The company may also use customer data internally, allowing Verizon to “personalize communications,” provide “more relevant product and service recommendations,” and “develop plans, services, and offers that are more appealing” to those who already pay for its service.
Customers who opted out of Verizon Selects have been auto-enrolled in the Customer Experience program, even after making it clear that their browsing data isn’t for Verizon to collect. Though the company has been sending emails to customers to notify them of their enrollment, that isn’t the point; those who have revoked consent to have their data tracked and recorded should not have to continuously revoke said consent to avoid the very thing they’re declining.
Worse, the basic Customer Experience program is just what formerly opted-out customers are involuntarily added to. Customers who have not previously denied Verizon access to their browsing data are auto-enrolled in Customer Experience Plus, which also records device location, information about a customer’s Verizon FiOS services, a log of the phone numbers a customer calls or is called by (and the length of each phone call), and “information about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon telecommunications and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and related billing information.” Verizon denies recording the content of customers’ calls, texts, or emails.
Those who wish to opt out of the Customer Experience and Customer Experience Plus programs can do so by visiting the privacy preferences page on the Verizon website or within the Verizon app, then opening the “Manage Settings” page. Customers can also delete any data previously collected by Verizon by selecting “Reset.”