Verizon Caught Using 'Perma-Cookies' For Targeted Advertising

Posted: Oct 28 2014, 4:38am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 28 2014, 4:47am CDT, in News | Technology News


Verizon Caught Using 'Perma-Cookies' For Targeted Advertising
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  • Verizon found to be using a Unique Identifier Header.
  • The string of code was discovered by a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • Verizon says that it cannot be turned off.

Verizon Wireless is reportedly altering the web traffic of its customers by inserting a string of 50 letters, characters, and numbers for the past two years, reports Wired. This string is called a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH), a kind of short-term serial number used by advertisers to associate a particular computer on the internet. Critics are now saying that Verizon is abusing its power as the country's biggest wireless carrier and internet service provider.

One of the critics is technologist Jacob Hoffman-Andrews of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He says that Verizon's UIDH is a "perma-cookie" because any web server can read it, thus allowing Verizon to track a user's internet habits. “ISPs are trusted connectors of users and they shouldn’t be modifying our traffic on its way to the Internet,” Hoffman-Andrews adds. Verizon's devious UIDH headers were discovered by a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The EFF member, yet to be identified, accidentally spotted the strings on the web traffic from a few Verizon customers. Verizon Wireless has responded to Wired saying that the company isn't using the UIDH to create customer profiles for targeted advertising campaigns. Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis said that it cannot be turned off and that customers can opt out from the company's mobile advertising program by logging into their Verizon account. 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/21" rel="author">Gene Ryan Briones</a>
Gene Ryan Briones (Google+) is a technology journalist with a wide experience in writing about the latest trends in the technology industry, ranging from mobile technology, gadgets and robots, as well as computer hardware and software.




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