If you’re a Verizon customer, you may have seen the new data collection policy that the company recently emailed to its users.
The new policy brings up privacy concerns. I’ve got more information on this here as well as specific steps you can follow to opt out of the new policy. Know that if you don’t opt out, Verizon gets to collect all kinds of information about you.
“When you are a Verizon customer, they are reading all your stuff. They are collecting data about your apps, where you browse on the web, everything you’re doing,” says money expert Clark Howard.
What Is Verizon’s New Data Collection Policy?
According to Verizon’s website, its new data collection policy automatically pulls personal information from the accounts of cellphone customers.
It’s called Custom Experience Plus, and it replaces the Verizon Selects program, which was an optional opt-in program that used customer data to gain marketing insights. If you agreed to participate in Verizon Selects, then you have been automatically enrolled in Customer Experience Plus.
I have reached out to Verizon to determine how the new policy applies to its home internet and home phone customers and will update this story when I hear back.
What Data Collection Means in Real Terms
In real terms, data collection means a company — in this case, Verizon — is spying on you.
If you’re wondering what types of things Verizon collects about you, here’s what it says on the company’s FAQ support page: “Custom Experience uses information about the websites you visit and the apps you use on your mobile device to help us determine your interests, such as ‘sports lover’ or ‘outdoor enthusiast.’”
Some other things Custom Experience Plus uses are:
- Device location information
- The phone numbers you call and those that call you
- The times you receive those calls
Verizon says the programs “do not use what you or others say during calls or the content of your emails or texts with other people.”
According to the company’s support page, the data collected “also includes information about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon telecommunications and interconnected voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services and related billing information.”
But you can opt out of the whole thing.
How To Opt Out of Verizon’s Data Collection Policy
The following steps come from Verizon’s FAQ page, which explains how you can opt out of Verizon’s Custom Experience program on the company’s website or in the app.
- Log in to your account at myverizon.com or via the Verizon app.
- Go to your Privacy preferences settings.
- Scroll down to the Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus section and click on “Don’t Use.” In the app, toggle off Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus.
Verizon Selects participants are automatically being included in a renamed program, Custom Experience Plus, which tracks your data.
Clark says he finds it interesting that Verizon doesn’t make it so that the default position of these services is that the customer is not automatically opted in.
“What Verizon’s done is this nasty practice where you’re automatically into their spying network unless you opt out,” he says. “It should be that if it’s such a great program that Verizon has for you, it should be something that they get you to opt in to. But they know what they’re doing here. They know that most people ignore those emails.”
“You say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ and opt out,” Clark advises.