How can I opt out of the broadcast UID Verizon has been putting in all of my web traffic, austensibly to track me despite opting out of targetted advertising?
mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

I've opted out of "targeted advertising" on all of my accounts.  Now we've found out that Verizon is tracking us anyway, adding a "perma cookie" to our web headers as a unique identifier that can be tracked across sites.  I find this a repugnant practice that I want to opt out of and NEVER would have signed up for Verizon services had I known this was happening.  Please immediately inform me how to opt out across all of my devices.

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1 Solution
vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

Hi mikkibarry.esq!


Verizon Wireless includes Unique Identifier Headers (UIDH) in the address information that accompanies users’ Internet data requests transmitted over our wireless network. Verizon Wireless does not use the UIDH to track where customers go on the web. And, information about web browsing is not part of the relevant mobile advertising program.

Verizon Wireless customers may opt-out of Relevant Mobile Advertising by changing their privacy choices at any time:http://vz.to/1rD6ZJq .  If/when a customer opts out of Relevant Mobile Advertising via their privacy choices, while they may still see the UIDH, there is NO information associated with the ID and therefore, no ability to use it for advertising purposes.

Thanks,

AyaniB_VZW

Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

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63 Replies
BostonPaul
Enthusiast - Level 1

Same here. I want my privacy back.

Here's a story on it for those who haven't heard.

Verizon's 'Perma-Cookie' Is a Privacy-Killing Machine | WIRED

vzw_customer_support
Customer Service Rep

Hi mikkibarry.esq!


Verizon Wireless includes Unique Identifier Headers (UIDH) in the address information that accompanies users’ Internet data requests transmitted over our wireless network. Verizon Wireless does not use the UIDH to track where customers go on the web. And, information about web browsing is not part of the relevant mobile advertising program.

Verizon Wireless customers may opt-out of Relevant Mobile Advertising by changing their privacy choices at any time:http://vz.to/1rD6ZJq .  If/when a customer opts out of Relevant Mobile Advertising via their privacy choices, while they may still see the UIDH, there is NO information associated with the ID and therefore, no ability to use it for advertising purposes.

Thanks,

AyaniB_VZW

Follow us on Twitter @VZWSupport

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DoNotTrackMe
Enthusiast - Level 1

If this UIDH is not used for anything, why does it exist? I do not want any unique identifiers associated with my web traffic.
This is a pretty gross violation of the trust customers must place in their internet providers.
I want the ability to remove the UIDH from my traffic, or I will switch carriers. When Sprint and T-mobile are offering to buy out my contract, it's not that difficult or expensive. 

XxJoshxX
Enthusiast - Level 2

Deniability does not dismiss plausability.. And seeing as the exact opposite of what you and other reps have stated has been proven I would think Verizon owes us a little more than scripted responses denying the truth. It has already been proven Big Red..

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/10/17/verizon-very-excited-that-it-can-track-everything...

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

Verizon, I'm still waiting.  i've been a customer of yours for over 20 years, yet you still have not responded to my request.  I've received nonsense responses from one of yours on Twitter telling I can opt out on MyVerizon (not true), yet no information on how to remove the X-UIDH string from every single non encrypted URL I go to.  Twitter is matching these with login information. Nothing bad can come of this, right?  I want to either cancel all of my accounts with you, without any type of fee, or I want you to remove this flashing neon sign from my web traffic.  By the way, there is no difference between "collecting" and "disclosing" under ECPA.  Please advise ASAP, as every day I have a phone that is useless for browsing is another day I'm paying you to violate my privacy, and allow others to do the same. 

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

And by the way, Verizon Support.  Here's more information on what you are doing to us, your customers.

https://www.eff.org/node/82886

This is not disclosed in your privacy policies,  you don't have my permission, and doing this is a betrayal of trust you can't recover from.

WinstonS
Enthusiast - Level 1

Not much point talking to Verizon. Follow the guidance in the EFF link provided above by mikkbarry.esq. Get a VPN. They can't inject their tracking cookie in the encrypted traffic. And complain to the FCC: File Complaint | FCC.gov

You can test to see if Verizon is tracking you from the browser within your mobile phone.by visiting these sites lessonslearned.org/sniff or amibeingtracked.com

sumone
Enthusiast - Level 1

Furious with today's news about these cookies that go beyond breaking the law. You say you sent info to opt out and I call bs! I want to opt out and will gladly join class action against this violation. I understand " normal" cookie tracking and have nothing to hide but this practice to profit without knowledge goes beyond fcc privacy laws.

A_Woman
Enthusiast - Level 3

Excellent article, mikkibarry. Verizon subscribers should read every.word.of.it.

Thanks for the links you provided, winston, especially the one where subscribers can complain to the FCC.

I like the tweeting suggestion made by amibeingtracked.com. Customers who object to being tracked need to stay on this issue daily until it is resolved. I hope everyone will also complain to their elected representatives and senators, both local and federal.

A_Woman
Enthusiast - Level 3

An update:

I checked the header of my browser a couple of days ago (at both links provided earlier in this thread) and noticed that the UID is gone. I also had a message that Verizon was trying to contact me regarding my complaint to the FCC. I talked to the woman from Verizon and told her that since the UID has been removed, the matter is resolved unless I see it again, in which case I will continue filing complaints. I wouldn't put up with an ISP inserting a tracking UID into the browser of my home or office computer, so why in the world would I tolerate a wireless provider doing that to my smart phone? Verizon is acting as an ISP when it provides internet service to its wireless subscribers ya know...

Folks need to realize/remember/understand that a smart phone is really a personal, portable computer containing a great deal of personal information about its owner, the contacts stored on it, personal browsing habits, passwords, accounts, call logs, personal and business communications, even geographic activity tracking; Its only resemblance to a landline is that it has a wireless phone app built into it.

Please help protect your personal freedom and take the time to complain to the FCC.

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

Unfortunately, according to amibeingtracked.com, they are still broadcasting a UIDH I have complained to the FCC and to the FTC but have not yet been contacted, which I find to be a bit unusual to say the least.  I will contact both agencies tomorrow. 

Is it possible that you could have been checking with your wifi turned on?  That will give you a false negative.

belarm
Enthusiast - Level 3

I verified the X-UIDH header was gone using my own machine (nc -n -l

xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx 80 on a linux box, to be precise), and can verify that it's

now back. I'm still opted out of CPNI, but there's the tracking header

again. I also can't seem to get the chat option to work via the website

anymore - I presume I've been blocked for my numerous complaints & requests

for them to stop endangering my privacy.

Where/how did you file your FCC complaint? I've called them before, but I'm

not sure I've sent them anything via the web or email. FTC contact info

would be appreciated, too >:-|

On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 3:09 PM, mikkibarry.esq <forums@verizonwireless.com>

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

For complaints to the FCC, you can choose "wireless telephone" and write your complaint on this page:

http://www.fcc.gov/complaints.  You can contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint by selecting "wireless telephone" from this site:  - FTC Complaint Assistant


I am still ignored by Verizon, with no responses for several weeks.  Their "Privacy Office" never responded to my questions after they tried to convince me that there was no privacy issue because they, Verizon, were not using the tag they stuck to my outgoing stream.  I'm not giving up.  The thought that I am locked into hardware and a contract with a company that attaches a perpetual tracker to me without my consent, is abhorrent. 

belarm
Enthusiast - Level 3

Complaints filed with the FCC and FTC. We'll see what comes of it...

On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 5:24 PM, mikkibarry.esq <forums@verizonwireless.com>

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

Very sorry to hear, although not surprised. 

belarm
Enthusiast - Level 3

Once again, VZW responds to questions about X-UIDH with evasion and assurances that it's "not a problem". It *is* a problem, and the EFF has handily outlined all of the issues involved here:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/11/verizon-x-uidh

Try reading why we're upset before you condescendingly tell us not to worry, m'kay?

icallfoul
Enthusiast - Level 1

Since you refuse to remove this tracking method (which can still be -- and is being -- used by others like Twitter to track us), and you do not have my consent, I consider my contract with you to be in breech.

This makes our contract with you invalid, correct?!

It seems to me that if I break the contract I pay for the phones.  If your break the contract, you can have the phones back and I will get new ones with another carrier.

nomoretrackingplease
Enthusiast - Level 2

You say:

"when a customer opts out of Relevant Mobile Advertising via their privacy choices, while they may still see the UIDH, there is NO information associated with the ID and therefore, no ability to use it for advertising purposes."

This is completely false.

Whenever you build in any unique ID, someone will figure out a way to use it whether Verizon uses it or not.

Zombie cookies: How Verizon Wireless’s ‘supercookies’ make it even harder to avoid being tracked onl...

From the Washington Post article linked above: "According to research by Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford graduate student and privacy expert, Turn uses Verizon's identifier as a signal to "re-spawn" or bring back traditional cookies that customers have taken steps to remove. That conclusion was confirmed by ProPublica.

Turn's general counsel and chief privacy officer, Max Ochoa, confirmed Mayer's analysis of how its program worked in an interview with The Post.  In a blog post, Ochoa defended the company's practices, arguing that clearing cookies does not necessarily indicate that users did not want to be tracked."

Way to wreck any positive Verizon Brand opinions I and many others might have had.  All that money you've spent on advertising is burned by your real world decisions and positions against consumers.

mikkibarry_esq
Enthusiast - Level 3

I did not ask you what the UIDH was, nor did I ask you to opt out of relevant mobile advertising, although I have.  I did not ask you whether Verizon tracks it.  Other companies can and do track it, and can track whatever websites I go to through capturing this additional header for which there is no entry in any of the applicable RFCs.  So again, I ask you how to opt out of it?  Thank you.

A_Woman
Enthusiast - Level 3

I too would like a simple method (one click) to opt out of the tracking ID used by Verizon (see article below)

Twitter Mobile Ad Shop Using Verizon's ID to Track Users - ProPublica

I do not want my phone's internet use to be tracked at any time by any one for any reason. To be more specific, I don't want any of my phone's functions to be tracked at any time by any one for any reason. I want to opt IN (not to be begging to opt OUT) for such tracking should I lose my mind and want it.