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Verizon ‘Supercookie’ Web Tracking Now Has Opt-Out for Customers

April 2, 2015
Personal Finance
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Verizon customers can now opt out of a program that tracks their Web activity.

The company uses tracking codes — called “supercookies” by critics — that cannot be deleted and let advertisers target more specific ads to customers based on their Web browsing.

Faced with pressure from members of Congress, Verizon announced in January that it would let users opt out. Now, the company tells the New York Times that the changes have been made.

To opt out of the program, called Relevant Mobile Advertising, visit a page on the Verizon website or call (866) 211-0874.

Once logged in to the website, Verizon customers can change the setting under “Customer Privacy Settings.” There, they can click to turn off Relevant Mobile Advertising.

“As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus,” spokeswoman Debra Lewis told the Times in a statement. “As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.”

Before now, customers could opt out of the advertising aspect of the program, but couldn’t prevent the tracking codes from being added to their Web activity.

In January, four Democratic members of the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee sent a letter to Verizon asking for an explanation of how the program works. That’s when the company said it would let customers completely opt out of it.

Privacy advocates, the Times reported, call the move a step in the right direction but are calling on Verizon to eliminate the program entirely.

 Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

Image via iStock.