Tags: verizon | supercookies | cookies | senators | FCC | FTC

DC Upset With Verizon's 'Supercookies' Spying on Web Surfers

By    |   Monday, 13 Apr 2015 03:39 PM

"Supercookies" are not the kind Grandma used to bake — they are sneaky little bits of invasive computer code, inserted into your computer or cellphone and impossible to delete, that spy on your browsing activity, so advertisers can pitch specific come-ons directly to you.

Now, they've gotten giant provider Verizon Wireless into some big trouble with a group of senators, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which are looking into whether the company's use of supercookies, also known as "zombie cookies," is a violation of privacy, Media Post reports.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the FTC, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., wrote, "As we consider whether legislation may be necessary to fully protect consumers from the use of these supercookies, we also believe the FCC should use its full existing statutory authority to examine these practices."

Wheeler responded, "We are looking specifically into carriers’ injection of header information and the collection and use of information about their subscribers’ Internet activity. As you suggest, we will be considering the extent to which our rules and policies relating to consumer privacy, data security and transparency may be implicated," Media Post reported.

Nelson said in a statement, "This whole supercookie business raises the specter of corporations being able to peek into the habits of Americans without their knowledge or consent. That's why I think we need to get to the bottom of this and perhaps [adopt] new legislation," CNET reported.

AT&T also had been using supercookies, but ended the practice in November, Media Post noted.

Verizon now allows customers to opt out of the supercookie program, which it refers to as the Relevant Mobile Advertising Program (RMAP). It calls supercookies the Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) and states, "The UIDH was designed with privacy protections in place — it changes automatically and frequently and it does not contain any customer information."

In order to opt out of Verizon's supercookie program, customers have to contact the company's website or call 1-866-211-0874, Click2 Houston reports.

"As privacy invasions go, this one's a doozy," David Lazarus wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

"The company is charging a hefty monthly fee for wireless service. So whatever data it collects in the process are gravy. Wireless customers have every right to be outraged by this double dipping."

Craig Silliman, Verizon's executive vice president, told CNET, "We never share information that individually identifies our customers with third parties, and we give customers appropriate choices about whether and in what circumstances they will see advertising that is tailored to them."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
US
"Supercookies" are not the kind Grandma used to bake — they are bits of invasive computer code, inserted into your computer or cellphone and impossible to delete, that spy on your browsing activity, so advertisers can pitch specific come-ons directly to you.
verizon, supercookies, cookies, senators, FCC, FTC
438
2015-39-13
Monday, 13 Apr 2015 03:39 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved