Verizon to share user location data, browsing history with marketers

Carrier says it will never share information that marketers can use to personally ID users

Verizon has posted changes to its privacy policy stating that it will now share user location data, Web browsing history and demographic information with marketers.

While Verizon insists that it will not provide third parties with any information identifying users on a personal basis, it will give them a wide array of its users' information, including websites they frequent on their Verizon devices, places where their devices have been, and demographic categories such as gender and age range. Verizon will also share user interests with marketers, such as whether they're a sports fan, own a pet or what sort of restaurants they frequent.

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Verizon says that marketers will use this data to create reports that identify trends across different demographics of Verizon users. For example, Verizon says a certain marketing firm may create a report finding that "10,000 mobile users visited a sports website in a month and 60% were men." The data could also help local businesses create ads that will be delivered on a user's mobile website based on the locations they frequent the most. Verizon also says companies can use customers' Web browsing data to create more relevant advertisements to appear on users' mobile devices based on their interests.

The company emphasizes that users can opt out of the data-sharing program by editing the "My Choices" section of the Verizon "My Privacy" page or by calling the company directly. Verizon says that while users will still receive ads on their mobile devices if they opt out of the program, those ads will not be catered to the users' individual tastes.

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