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Will Verizon Sell User Traffic Data?



Will Verizon Sell User Traffic Data?


Verizon Wireless is the largest cell phone operator in the United States. With 62 million consumers and $ 38 billion in annual revenue, the joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group sees a lot of interesting information passing through its lines. Data that could soon end up fueling the spontaneous advertising business that looks so much like email spam, given that the carrier has decided to modify the terms of the contract and make this data available to third parties .

Apparently, it is not a question of communicating sensitive information such as telephone number, name, address and the like, but of passing on the information contained in the so-called Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) to third parties. CPNI it’s basically a kind of silent and relentless telephone cataloger which keeps all call data recorded by the operator, including duration, date, time, destination number, type of contract and ancillary services and other information that appears monthly on the invoice.

A veritable mine of information, which Verizon Wireless now wants to share with “our affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries”. There is therefore no talk, or at least not yet, of the actual transfer of sensitive data to companies other than those already operating around the carrier. Beyond that, Verizon still takes it seriously: all its consumers will be incorporated into the initiative unless they send their denial to the company through an opt-out mechanism, with a telephone call to the telephone number specially set up for the purpose.

Without direct user intervention, Verizon will interpret the failure to communicate as silence-consent to the new policy data management. What he actually wants to do with it, at least for now, is a matter of conjecture: according to some it could be the beginning of a new targeted advertising program although Verizon claims to use CPNI registry information to improve its services and nothing else.

Ars technica argues that, although the transfer to third parties is to be excluded, the use of such information is practically taken for granted for the construction of an analytical and structured advertising system for internal use . The doubts however remain and Verizon does not help to dispel them: he still does not mention precise plans regarding the exploitation of the information “treasure” that is found in the house.

Alfonso Maruccia