Verizon Wireless to expose customer browsing to advertisers through Relevant Mobile Advertising program

Posted Apr 26, 2014

Verizon Wireless said that it is “enhancing” its Relevant Mobile Advertising program to collect data on the online habits of customers so that marketers can target advertisements to users.

“In addition to the customer information that’s currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites,” said Verizon Wireless in a message to customers. “This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network.”

This also means that Verizon will monitor what you do on your wired or WiFi connected laptop or desktop even if it does not have a Verizon connection. This data will be shared with marketers.

When a customer registers on the “My Verizon” website to see a bill or watch TV online, a cookie will be downloaded onto the customer’s computer. This is how browsing habits are tracked. That customer’s information is “anonymized” to protect the exact identity of the user. This means that companies like Purina could show you dog food ads if you enjoy watching videos of puppies playing on YouTube.

“My Verizon” does not give explicit notice when the cookie is installed on a person’s computer. There is a link in the “notification center” of the website with more information on the enhanced Relevant Mobile Advertising program. Verizon said that this is not intrusive because people want to see advertising that is relevant, which would be a potential benefit for marketers and consumers.