This is capitalism at its worst. Profiteering from customer browsing habits is the latest revenue model being implemented by Verizon Wireless. The Sydney Morning Herald from Australia has reported this shocker of crony capitalism story where Verizon Wireless will be collating the customers browsing data and selling it to the highest bidder.
As per the report published by SMH, the United States telecom giant, Verizon Wireless has issued a alert stating that it will be accessing users browsing habits and then selling it to a marketer for profits. As per the alert, Verizon Wirelss says it’s “enhancing” its Relevant Mobile Advertising program. Under this RMA program, Verizon Wireless collects data on customers’ online browsing habits and sells them to marketers. This data is very valuable to the marketers because it enables them to sell their products to targeted audience with greater precision.
“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,” Verizon Wireless is telling 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,” it says.
In simple English, Verizon Wireless will monitor not just your wireless activities but also what you do on your wired or Wi-Fi-connected laptop or desktop computer – even if your computer doesn’t have a Verizon connection. The company will then share that additional data with marketers for windfall gains.
To propagate its RMA program, Verizon is making its customers download a tracking software onto their computers. This is being done without explicit consent of the customer. Worse, if the customer doesnt like this ‘privacy invasion’ policy of Verizon Wireless he/she has to take all the trouble of visiting Verizon Wireless site, signing up and then opting out. Quite a bit of trouble the customer has to undergo for what is probably their fundamental right.
SMH rightly says that this is one of the most outrageous examples recently of how the tech companies elaborately compromise customer privacy for windfall gains. One the one hand they proclaim to be self righteous upholders of consumer privacy and then indulge in this form of shadow crony capitalism by quietly selling consumers private data out to the highest bidder.