All jokes aside, this newest bit of news is a reason for cheering instead of laughing. Verizon announced a new policy change in which users on their network will be able to "opt out" of the so-called "supercookie" tracker which has popped up in the news over the years.

To refresh your memory, for sometime Verizon has included an undeletable, unique identifier header in a tracking cookie whenever anyone uses a device on their wireless network. They claimed that it wasn't a security issue, but several reports suggested otherwise. Apparently, the big dogs at Big Red decided they had enough of the backlash from it and are now offering folks the ability to say no.

To opt-out, you can hunt around on Verizon's website or call 1-866-211-0874 and they can help you with it over the phone. This doesn't entirely solve the issue, as several consumer advocacy groups have would rather Verizon use the "opt-in" approach, but at least some progress has been made. Here's a quote with the final details,

In January, four Democratic members of the Senate’s powerful Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation sent a letter to Verizon’s chief executive, Lowell C. McAdam, demanding an explanation for the company’s data security and privacy practices. Shortly after, Verizon said it would provide a complete opt-out.

But privacy advocates continue to press Verizon. Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, encouraged Verizon to go a step further.

“This is an improvement, but it doesn’t do nearly enough,” he said. “Verizon should discontinue its header injection program, or at a minimum make it opt-in.”

Verizon’s Ms. Lewis said customers may log in to their accounts to change their participation in the company’s data collection programs — whether it’s opt-in or opt-out — in the privacy section of the company’s website.
What do you think about this issue? Is it a valid privacy concern, or does it make a mountain out of a mole-hill?

Source: NYTimes