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Verizon Wants To Share Your Personal Information

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the on-display-right-there-in-the-locked-cabinet dept.

Privacy 236

hyades1 writes "Gizmodo reports that Verizon is sending out notification letters infested with virtually-indecipherable legalese. In their sneaky, underhanded way, they're informing you that you have 45 days to opt out of their plan to share your personal data with 'affiliates, agents and parent companies.' That data can include, but isn't limited to, 'services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info.' If you view your statement on-line, you won't even get the letter. You'll have to access your account and view your messages. However, Read Write Web says the link provided there, called the 'Customer Proprietary Network Information Notice,' was listed as 'not available.' No doubt Verizon would like to reassure you that everyone they're going to hand your personal data over to will have your best interests at heart."

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236 comments

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boy am I glad (5, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113981)

that i have AT&T and they won't ever try to abuse me.

Excuse me now I have to go reset my sarcasm meter. for some reason it gets pegged all the time now.

Re:boy am I glad (4, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114065)

i have AT&T and they won't ever try to abuse me.

Ha ... I have Sprint and was going to say the same thing.

Bloodsuckers, all of them.

Re:boy am I glad (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114109)

The summary is blatantly wrong.

Verizon will NOT just hand over your information to other companies.

I am 100% sure that Verizon will demand a bunch of money before these companies get to see any of your personal, private information. Once the companies have made the payment, then they can do whatever they want with your information. And if they make their regular monthly payments, they get access to updated information from Verizon.

Re:boy am I glad (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114373)

They're a regulated monopoly.. why do they need other "revenue streams"? They're not a "normal" company in that they can ask for rate increases to cover any operational losses... they have no need for income streams from other purposes... they shouldn't be handing out customer data.. because you have no real way to opt out of their monopoly.

Re:boy am I glad (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114511)

They may be part of a semi-regulated cartel, but they also have shareholders, so they have an obligation to do this to their customers. ...won't someone think of the shareholders...

Re:boy am I glad (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114735)


Bullshit about obligations to shareholders. The shareholders invest their money of their own free will. If they think they've made a bad bargain then they shouldn't have invested or should sell their shares. And it stops there. If someone gives me £500, I'm not obliged to go out and kill their rich grandparent for them. Why not? Because it's against the law and they didn't give me the money on the expectation that I would go out and indulge in unethical behaviour on their part and if they did then more fool them.

Companies don't exist as indivisible entities. Somewhere there are people saying "lets violate people's privacy" and they should be personally held accountable because they are personally responsible.

Re:boy am I glad (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114779)

I smell a pimp analogy in here somewhere. The consumer gets abused while Mr. Pimp there walks away with all the cash.

Consumer 'reward'? Lousy service.

Re:boy am I glad (2, Informative)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114319)

About a month ago, I got a similar letter from AT&T describing how I could opt out of having my personal information shared with affiliates, etc.

When I called the number to opt out, I had to sit through sixty seconds of a computer verifying that yes, I was turning down all sorts of great offers etc.

Re:boy am I glad (3, Informative)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114497)

About a month ago, I got a similar letter from AT&T describing how I could opt out ...

US Cellular did the same thing last year... IIRC, it was right after some sort of legislation or rules change that allowed them to share the data.

Opting out was painless, just had to call a number and it was automated... *however* people should have to opt *IN* not opt out.

Re:boy am I glad (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114831)

Opting out was painless, just had to call a number and it was automated... *however* people should have to opt *IN* not opt out.

But then they'd have to offer you something in return, to entice you to opt in. The underhanded way they're doing it, it costs them nothing. Most likely, their income from selling customer information won't be reduced unless quite a lot of subscribers opt out.

Re:boy am I glad (2, Funny)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114331)

And it was neither of the two when I wrote my sig...

Re:boy am I glad (3, Interesting)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114821)

I had Verizon for 5 years and boy, am I happy that I dropped them like hot potatoes. I even had to fight them for 9 months for getting my due rebate. Moreover, I found out that they had me on collection for years because the idiot that I returned the phone to the day after purchasing it (it malfunctioned) forgot to do their paperwork. I had to get the FTC involved and finally they stopped asking for money. What's worse was that they don't communicate among departments otherwise they would have seen that I had an active line with payments made regularly.

Verizon sucks at math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27113991)

It used to just be math, I guess now you can add "not being ridiculous" to the list, too.

Hey Verizon :) (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27113993)

I'm posting here that I'm going to eat all of your staff's pets.

You 15 minutes to reply to this post, or you agree that Bruno the Poodle is my main course.

Re:Hey Verizon :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114155)

I'm posting here that I'm going to eat all of your staff's pets. You 15 minutes to reply to this post, or you agree that Bruno the Poodle is my main course.

Sounds good to me.

- Ivan Seidenberg

Re:Hey Verizon :) (2, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114837)

You 15 minutes to reply to this post, or you agree that Bruno the Poodle is my main course.

You accidentally the verb.

Re:Hey Verizon :) (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114867)

OPT/OUT

Frogs in boiling water (4, Insightful)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114009)

Look, I know the UK gets slammed regularly here on Slashdot for CCTV privacy issues and government spying, but at least we have a halfway decent Data Protection Act with teeth. A company pulling this kind of shit wouldnt get 2 steps in the UK. Doesnt the US have something similar to deter blatant abuses like this?

Re:Frogs in boiling water (5, Insightful)

Ontheotherhand (796949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114063)

I think the subtle irony of your post may be lost on the less British. my personal favourite is the local council that used anti terror legislation to spy on a family who were applying for a school place. Thank goodness commercial organisations cant protect us in this way - yet.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (5, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114075)

Look, I know the UK gets slammed regularly here on Slashdot for CCTV privacy issues and government spying, but at least we have a halfway decent Data Protection Act with teeth. A company pulling this kind of shit wouldnt get 2 steps in the UK. Doesnt the US have something similar to deter blatant abuses like this?

Yes, indeed ... we have Congress ...

Re:Frogs in boiling water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114123)

Meaning... no? :P

Re:Frogs in boiling water (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114131)

Meaning... no? :P

I should have thought that was obvious.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (3, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114617)

Yes, indeed ... we have Congress ...

Thanks, my nose needed rinsed out with milk, and it has been awhile since I wiped off the keyboard and LCD...

Re:Frogs in boiling water (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114079)

What are you talking about? Here in the UK companies don't even need to pay for this information, they can just pull the data off the unencrypted USB sticks they find lying around on the tube.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114823)

Yeah, the MoD leaves loads lying around. And it's not unknown to find DLVA data either.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114097)

apparently not.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (2, Informative)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114107)

Hey guess what? I can cancel with verizon right now before this takes effect and sign up with a company who doesn't do this (which I'm currently doing).

You cannot get Freedom of speech, privacy or your money back from outrageous taxes. Welcome to your big brother world.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (3, Informative)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114239)

You mean a company like Phorm [wikipedia.org] , who have been getting backing from both BT (THE telco out here) and the Gov't despite the exclusively bad press?

Re:Frogs in boiling water (4, Interesting)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114345)

We have contracts. I am a Verizon customer and I read this story and called up and now, I'm opted out (I offered to opt in for $5/month off my bill, about what I think that's worth, they declined). In the end-game, if VZ wouldn't agree to let me opt out, I'd consider other service providers, compare all my options, and pick the one I liked the most.

For the masses that don't care to opt-out, they don't care! Giving out personal information is not an injury to people that don't care. I know it's impossible for /.ers to imagine that other people might have more a different set of priorities than they do, but it's a fact that different people care about different sets of things. Even people that care about the same set of things assign different weights and will come up with different tradeoffs. What's nice about a system of voluntary associations is that those sets of priorities can be efficiently mapped into different contract terms instead of everyone getting a one-sized-fits-all solution.

I really cannot understand why some people believe that they have the right to dictate the terms under which someone sells them a service. If you went into the grocery store and saw a 6-pack of apples being sold for $1, would you demand (citing some clearly inalienable right) that they sell you a 5-pack of apples for $.80? If you don't want apples on the terms that the store is selling them, buy them from a different store. If no store has terms you approve of, then you have to admit the fact that no other human being will voluntarily give you his apples under those terms. Either change your terms, or start rationalizing to yourself your right to seize those apples from him involuntarily.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (2, Insightful)

ghyspran (971653) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114487)

The problem is not that Verizon shouldn't be allowed to sell you services under their rules; that is fine. What isn't fine is selling service under one set of rules and then changing those rules with little notice (or apparently none if you view your bill online), especially when those changes concern your privacy.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (5, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114757)

Verizon: "But Mr Dent, the privacy opt-out contract has been available in the local telecom office for the last nine months."

Dent: "Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."

Verizon: "But the contract was on display ..."

Dent: "On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."

Verizon: "That's the display department."

Dent: "With a flashlight."

Verizon: "Ah, well the lights had probably gone."

Dent: "So had the stairs."

Verizon: "But look, you found the privacy notice didn't you?"

Dent: "Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

Re:Frogs in boiling water (3, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114545)

The problem is that the stance you take ignores the whole concept of barter which has been part of human existence since a guy first decided to sell apples. Only with the advent of mass marketing has it been acceptable for a company to entirely dictate the terms of the apple sale. Before, I could walk into a store and ask them if they'll sell me that package of apples for $.80, and it would be totally okay. There are markets in other countries where this is still considered acceptable, and where merchants price items specifically so that they can haggle down to a reasonable price. The fact that we accept without question that companies just sell us service for a flat rate means that they don't have to compete as directly with each other.

Furthermore, we don't believe in our unalienable right to those apples. We believe that we have the right to negotiate the price of those apples or seek apples elsewhere. Reasonable people realise that it's unreasonable to expect anyone to part with anything without a fair exchange. We would only quibble over what constitutes fairness. Maybe you're the one being irrational? Isn't it a bit irrational to expect people not to negotiate for anything at all?

Case in point, I asked a bank teller if one of their fees was reasonable, and she promptly removed it after thinking about it herself. It's okay to want to negotiate.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114795)

The problem is that they change the contract whenever their hemorrhoids flare up and the customer has no say in the matter.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114377)

"Doesnt the US have something similar to deter blatant abuses like this?"

The "either party can end this agreement at any time" clause.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (2, Insightful)

cyn1c77 (928549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114731)

No.

Our government used to stop these things, but they got bought out by the corporations about 20 years ago.

Re:Frogs in boiling water (4, Insightful)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114919)

> Our government used to stop these things, but they got bought out by the corporations about 20 years ago.

Let's call a duck a duck. It was thanks to Ronald Reagan, the greatest almighty president, that corporations got more and more power. For those who were too young to know, or forgot, banks also had a limit to how much interest they could charge on a credit card, but Reagan decided it wasn't fair and made them free to charge whatever they wanted. Good Morning 29% APR. Thanks George W. Reagan!

Re:Frogs in boiling water (3, Interesting)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114745)

If the UK's Data Protection Act had any teeth at all, they would have ruled the IP packet inspecting / changing Phorm system [wikipedia.org] illegal under existing laws, and not have the situation that the Phorm company is going around trying to suppress knowledge of their system to subscribers of the three scumbag internet providers that will roll out this system (BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk).

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/UK_media_suppressed_Phorm_survey_and_article%2C_2009 [wikileaks.org]

Re:Frogs in boiling water (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27115065)

There's an even more teethful Datenschutzgesetz (Data Protection Act) in Germany. Just guess who tried to trick me into an agreement -formulated exactly in the same legalese as mentioned- to renounce any protection of my personal data and therefore allow them to sell them. Vodafone.

Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (5, Insightful)

dprovine (140134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114023)

While people will complain about this now, and talk about switching to Comcast or whoever, what will happen next is that Comcast &c. will do the same thing, and there'll be noplace left to switch to.

Since it's unlikely there will ever be any sort of sufficient regulation of this behaviour by the government, the obvious solution is for everybody to use VOIP and run TOR. But that's unlikely too.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114089)

The solution is to grow a spine. Cut them off. Yes, that means gasp! canceling your service. We've managed to survive for very long periods without cell phones. And we still can. The only difference is a little less convenience.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114143)

I don't carry a cellphone anymore. I hate being 'on call' like that when I'm away.

one problem, though. have you notice that payphones are almost non-existant now? they are almost impossible to find.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (2, Insightful)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114287)

It's sad that this has to be pointed out, but I do understand that it's honestly an odd concept nowadays: You can still carry a cell phone for when you need it and not be "on call" by turning the little sucker off. I get questions sometimes, but when I ask "you got my voicemail, didn't you?" it usually shuts up the inquirer.

OT, I was going to switch to Verizon this spring, but given the crappy service you get at their stores and now this crap, I'll be sticking with something a little bit more private (pay a friend $20 a month for a "family plan" cell phone on a different network. Even if the same data is tracked, it poisons the information pool a bit by having mis-association with owner/activity).

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114407)

Nokia phones used to have a fantastic feature, though I'm sure they could now (or indeed any phones). You could add Contacts into Groups (no surprise there, fairly common) and set "Selective Diversion". I had my phone set up so friends could call 24/7, but calls from a work number outside 8-8 were automatically diverted to voicemail. It wasn't perfect, if I recall, as it was being done by the handset, not the network, so you might get the occasional half-ring before diversion, but was a nice way of managing this.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114283)

You can activate a net10 phone without giving them any personal info (depending on whether you think that giving them a zip code to activate in is personal info).

Of course, they will still have a record of your calls and such, but it won't be attached to your name (and even normal people would be pissed off if they found out that their phone company was routinely selling their call history).

Also, whoever they buy airtime from (I think it is AT&T) is making money.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114101)

I shudder at the thought of Comcast ever getting into the cell phone business.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114125)

I shudder at the thought of Comcast ever getting into the cell phone business.

Well, I think we have a really good idea. It's called "Sprint".

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114191)

The barrier for entry into communications is low enough that an alternative can always emerge.

Don't forget P2P. Power to the people.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114615)

The

technical

barrier for entry into communications is low enough that an alternative can always emerge.

Don't forget P2P. Power to the people.

The legal barriers are somewhat different.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114209)

Oligopoly, not oligarchy.

Re:Oligarchy Only Slightly Better Than Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114265)

Since it's unlikely there will ever be any sort of sufficient regulation of this behaviour by the government, the obvious solution is for everybody to use VOIP and run TOR. But that's unlikely too.

I'd use Tor more if it wasn't so freaking slow.

The problem I have with VOIP is that it's pretty much the same price or more than what I can pay for a hard-line. Why would I want a less reliable line that costs more?

Don't get me wrong, I would like to use VOIP and I do for some stuff. Currently I have the cheapest hard-line that you can get (no features, not even caller-id; about $15/mo). Then I have been trying to use SkypeIn/Out as my primary phone. SkypeOut works fine but SkypeIn is unreliable as hell. Very often I miss calls and Skype shows nothing, not even an attempt to call me. The only way I have found to start getting calls again is to sign out then sign back in. Skype is cheaper (about $60/yr for everything) but it has sucked so far. Every other VOIP system I know of costs a lot more. So much more that I could just upgrade my hard-line and use that. I'm trying to save money though.

How to fight back against them? (0, Redundant)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114027)

As a customer, I find this absolutely disgusting. These type of things should be opt in if anything.

Standard Fare for CC Companies (3, Insightful)

SaxIndustries (1268118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114037)

CC companies do this kinda stuff all the time. You get a letter of an upcoming policy change, and you throw it out not even bothering to read it, since your options are usually A) Agree to the new terms, or B) Pay off and close your account.

I guess what I'm saying is, I've lost all faith in large companies to do the right thing. After I saw my tax dollars pay CEOs large bonuses, I just gave up. Game's over man.

Of course, this happens right as people start forgetting about how much Verizon sucks at math.

Re:Standard Fare for CC Companies (2, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114421)

Yup, exactly. "You may opt out of this change." With fine print (or maybe not even then, but a followup letter, "By opting out of this change, we have exercised our right to close your account. All balances are now due and payable in full within 14 days."

The other sneaky one, "Your payment of your next bill indicates your acceptance of the changes to the Terms and Conditions outlined in this letter". Wow. Nice. I guess "Agree to these changes, or watch us fuck your credit score" might be likely to alienate too many people outright.

Least they'l tell you (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114043)

AT&T just assumes that you WANT to share your name, address, email, social, call length, call content, text messages, voice mail, and shoe size with the world. If you aren't into sharing information, why would you have a cell phone? Bizuhhhh.

If you are in an area that works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114045)

..for boost mobile, geez, 50 bucks a month for unlimited yakking, texting and data, via more or less anonymous prepaid, no contract, no "plans" other than that, no hidden fees or anything, and they pay the tax! Ya, the phone selection right now is still crappy, but I bet that will get better, they are getting new customers like crazy. I have a verizon wireless account now and will be switching shortly, it is an obvious no brainer at this point if you can deal with a limited selection of phones.

Re:If you are in an area that works... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114147)

it is an obvious no brainer at this point if you can deal with a limited selection of phones.

I dunno, man ... what's a true geek to do without his Android G1?

Re:If you are in an area that works... (1)

Consul (119169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114555)

>I dunno, man ... what's a true geek to do without his Android G1?

Get a phone with more than 3 hours of battery life?

Don't get me wrong. I really want a G1, but the moment I heard about the battery life, I decided to pass on it.

Re:If you are in an area that works... (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115071)

The battery life really isn't that bad, unless you keep on the GPS. But even dedicated GPS devices don't run on battery for more than 4 or 5 hours. I can get 2 days out of a single charge (low talk and internet), leaving 3g on but only using WiFi when I need it. I guess I don't use it for music or games which would probably suck the battery down, but really why do you need more than 8 hours of heavy usage time?

Plus when I go biking, skiing, or hiking I take a Nokia cheapo (I got for 10$) and slap my sim card in there. Beats the crap out of an iPhone.

Which Verizon? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114053)

I haven't read through the full article yet, but I'm assuming they're talking about Verizon Wireless. Or does this spill down to those of us using Verizon DSL service, too?

Re:Which Verizon? (5, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114061)

Replying to myself. Looks like it is Verizon Wireless. But it also looks like it's fairly easy to opt out of. You can either do it through your settings on the Verizon Wireless [verizonwireless.com] website, or via phone at 1-800-333-9956.

Re:Which Verizon? (1)

JDHannan (786636) | more than 5 years ago | (#27115079)

Except for the fact that My Verizon is temporarily unavailable is the prevailing response from verizonwireless.com

*grumble* (1)

j2210 (1381119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114055)

What is it with companies and selling personal information these days? I guess it's time for me to switch to another carrier and tell everyone I know who's on Verizon to do the same. I just switched to Verizon a few weeks ago, too.

Re:*grumble* (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114177)

What is it with companies and selling personal information these days?

You answered your own question: money. As long as millions upon millions of not-particularly-bright people insist on buying useless stuff that advertisers tell them they absolutely must own, our personal information will continue to be valuable. Me, I quite pointedly a. don't watch advertising and b. will not buy anything from an advertisement to which I might accidentally find myself exposed.

It possibly suggests (5, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114057)

That Verizon perhaps has already been doing this information sharing. They just want to stop getting penalized [consumeraffairs.com] for various marketing activities they undertake.

And court rulings [epic.org] that affirm the new regulations requiring opt-in consent.

So the new regulations are finally making them take notice and be more forthcoming about when they share proprietary information??

Verizon might be on the hot seat right now, but, I won't be surprised if notices like Verizon's or similar agreements start being seen from other carriers.

Re:It possibly suggests (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114559)

And court rulings that affirm the new regulations requiring opt-in consent.

With regard to that, the opt-out concept described in TFA fails to help them. It seems Verizon management wants to be slapped around in court some more ;-)

Re:It possibly suggests (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114747)

Perhaps... next up is probably some whacky argument, like "by paying the bill and returning the bill stub that that contained that message, the customer actually chose to opt-in", by taking the affirmative action of sending a cheque.

My information? (1)

m1ss1ontomars2k4 (1302833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114069)

I refuse to let them share it! How did they even get my information in the first place? I'm not one of their customers!

Dah? (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114087)

Of course they do and the only thing that kept them from doing it before was the fear of a backlash from their customers.

Re:Dah? (2, Informative)

maitai (46370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114339)

They've been doing it for a long time, when I signed up with Verizon in November it came with a piece of paper telling about the information sharing and how to opt out. This article seems at least 5 months to late.

Also, I did get a letter in December about it (but I'd opted out when I first signed up).

Personally, I give them kudos for even notifying me (at the signing of the contract even), and more so for the option to opt out (I've had other companies notify me, but no opt-out option, and it's rare that a company even notifies you, they just sell it).

I found it: (3, Informative)

nukeade (583009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114091)

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer like me, the number to call to opt out is given in the actual legal document, here:

http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/globalText?contentType=Legal%20Notice&textId=181 [verizonwireless.com]

It takes about two minutes.

~Ben

Re:I found it: (1)

kevlarz3 (621007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114295)

You can also opt out on-line. Took me a while to find where, but if you login to your account https://login.verizonwireless.com/amserver/UI/Login/ [verizonwireless.com] . The link is under My Profile -> Phone Controls. Under that section you'll find a link labeled "View/Edit Privacy (CPNI) Settings". Clicking that allows to opt out.

Re:I found it: (2, Informative)

Xayma (892821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114337)

In typical legalese fashion the letter contains contradictions:

Unless you provide us with notice that you wish to opt out within 30 days of us providing notice to you in your bill or through the mail, we will assume that you give us the right to share your CPNI with the authorized companies as described above.

Q4. How do I give my consent to share CPNI? A. Unless you provide us with notice that you wish to opt out within 45 days of receiving this letter, we will assume that you give us the right to share your CPNI with the authorized companies described above.

Its only a 50% difference after all.

Verizon does stupid stuff all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114103)

I work for Verizon DSL as technical support agent. I've seen so many dumb policies it makes my head spin. So this one is no surprise. There is a department at Verizon that it's sole job is to create new policies and processes, no matter how stupid they are. I hate Verizon As much as you do, luckily I'm in Canada and never have to deal with them as a consumer.

p.S. If you require a technician to come out to fix your DSL line, consider yourself lucky if they actually show up on the day they were suppose to (and if they fix it when they do show up)and don't yell at the Agent on the phone (overseas agents are allowed, We hate them too.) when you call in to find out why he didn't show up the next day. We don't know either.

its not 'share' its SELL (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114111)

dammit.

file 'sharing' is wrong. or so we're told.

but DATA sharing, if done by multi million corps - that's ok. yeah....

its not sharing, its SELLING.

orwell was right - you can control thoughts via language. give words an incorrect meaning or redefine them and you're halfway there.

similarly, copying bits is not THEFT but copyright violation. again, manipulating our words to make things not quite what they really are.

Re:its not 'share' its SELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114335)

Indeed. Sort of like drawing a bogus analogy between information that is created to be distributed and information that is considered to be private.

Opt out of the sharing or my contract? (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114117)

Does this mean I can opt out of my phone contract without penalty? I've been looking for a way to get on to a proper GSM carrier without paying the early termination fee. Or does it just mean I can opt out of the data sharing?

Re:Opt out of the sharing or my contract? (1)

momfreeek (720443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114263)

Go on, spend a few seconds imagining the conversation as you phone them to accept their kind offer.

Re:Opt out of the sharing or my contract? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114459)

I doubt it. The sharing of your data doesn't make a material difference to the contract. If anything they would probably claim it saves you money, as "they pass the savings on to you" (hahaha).

Good for the private investigator industry (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114163)

Become an "affiliate or agent" of Verizon, and you won't need to use ruses like "pretexting" to get the phone records of your targets.

Good for employers, too, who want to check up on the private calls that its employees make with their own phones.

Nothing to see here, move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114257)

Verizon isn't any sleazier than the rest of them. The only thing that happened here is the FCC required the carriers to provide consumers with a way to opt out of the "sharing" of their data. All the carriers have to do this not just Verizon. I can say for sure that the process is essentially identical for both Verizon and ATT, login and change your privacy settings under your profile. Works for both, pretty much painless.

Compromise (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114275)

I guaran-fucking-tee you that even if you canceled your account today, that the information would still be stored and shared by Verizon.

Needs to stop, and it's not just Verizon (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114293)

Several years ago, my local PBS station was begging for donations. I was about to call in and donate $50 when they said they would give you a 1-year subscription to Fast Company magazine if you dontated $60, so that's what I did. A few days later, I got a postcard in the mail thanking me for my donation and saying I would receive my subscription shortly, but my name was misspelled in a unique way. I never received a single issue of the magazine, but I got several solicitations from various charities with the same misspelling.

A message to all corporations and non-profits: If someone gives you money for a donation, service, or product, be thankful for it and treat them with an ounce of respect instead of turning around and screwing them for a few extra pennies by selling their personal info.

P.S. I never gave another penny to PBS again.

This isn't new (5, Informative)

Mugsy69 (314569) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114303)

The court case resulting from the 2007 FCC regs requiring consumers to be able to opt to not have their information shared was finally decided on 2/19. That's what caused this notice to be sent. For more information check out this link to the EPIC website: http://epic.org/privacy/cpni/ [epic.org] . It includes links to opt out for both Verizon and SBC.

Re:This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114751)

OK something doesn't track. The EPIC website you cite above clearly states that the court decided on February 13th that consumers must OPT-IN to have their data shared, not that they can be required to OPT-OUT of data sharing. Verizon is requiring that they OPT-OUT of data sharing, which appears to go against what the court decided. Am I misreading the EPIC site?

Re:This isn't new (1)

XorNand (517466) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114921)

For the lazy: Call (866) 483-9600 to opt out with Verizon. It's automated and you'll need the the primary phone number on the account, the account name, plus you'll have to leave voicemail that states the primary name on the account, billing address, the name of the caller, and a callback number for the caller. It seems that they're determined to make this as painful as possible.

not Verizon (2, Informative)

syrinx (106469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114329)

This is not about Verizon. It is about Verizon Wireless, which is a completely separate company (half owned by Verizon and half owned by Vodafone).

Re:not Verizon (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114693)

Ah! So it's only HALF about Verizon.

Your explanation doesn't get Verizon off the hook, it merely dilutes the blame. And it doesn't dilute it enough. I believe they would need to hold less than 20% of the stock (I forget how much less) to not be considered culpable were this a suit.

Re:not Verizon (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114815)

Oh, I'm not trying to let Verizon off the hook. I logged into my Verizon account and tried to find information about this and couldn't, and eventually realized that it's not about them. I don't have a Verizon Wireless cell phone, so I only have to worry about every other telecom company selling my information, not VW. :)

verizon's leet math skills (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114351)

There are slashdotters who still use Verizon? Despite their well-publicized math skills [verizonmath.com] ? I'm amazed.

(Best line: "that's a matter of opinion, sir". Referring to the result of a simple arithmetic calculation.)

Re:verizon's leet math skills (2, Interesting)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114767)

The alternative, in my case (for the internet anyway - I don't use Verizon Wireless or any other cellphones), are anticompetitive [wikipedia.org] , anticonsumer [yahoo.com] , annoying (or worse) [wordpress.com] scum.

Sorry, I gotta take potential bad math over such evil.

I don't see this as news (1)

maitai (46370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114357)

When I signed up for Verizon Wireless in November the contract came with a page about their information sharing and how to opt out (which I did on the day I signed up). Plus I got another letter about it in December. So this is old news.

Companies sell your personally information all the time, I give props to Verizon to at least notifying me and giving me the option to opt out of it. I've had one other company (I forget it's name) tell me they were selling my personal information without any opt out option, how many others just sell it outright? (note, the one I work for)

So I don't see how this is a big deal (even 5 months late at the least) when it takes 2 minutes or so to opt out.

Now I'm going to go read more of my mail addressed to be offering magazine subscriptions and credit cards...

Nothing has changed (1)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114391)

Isn't this just a rehash of a similar instance last year? IIRC, I logged into my account @ Verizon last year and set my 'Opt out'. Just checked again and it's still 'Don't Share My CPNI'. So they've updated their TOS... NOT news.

But they told Congress... (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114521)

So they apparently lied to congress:
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ISPs-Try-To-Prevent-New-Opt-In-Only-Privacy-Law-97991 [dslreports.com]

Verizon statement before Congress:

Verizon believes that before a company captures certain Internet-usage data for targeted or customized advertising purposes, it should obtain meaningful, affirmative consent from consumers." To get that meaningful consent, Tauke said, requires a) explaining to consumers exactly what kind of data are being collected and for what; b) treating a failure to consent as meaning no collection of data for "online behavioral marketing"; and c) consumers' ability to easily opt out if they initially agree but change their minds.

I shocked. Shocked! I tell you...

"Can you hear me now. Good. You're Fired.... (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114565)

...I'm switching to Qwest."

Qwest isn't going to share my personal info, and didn't allow the Bush/Cheney and the GOP to tap my phone lines.

Re:"Can you hear me now. Good. You're Fired.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114851)

Are you 10 years old, or what? Did you completely miss all the controversy over Echelon and other programs for tapping communications during Clinton's term? The GOP has no monopoly on spying on you.

C'mon guys, help me legalese this up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114599)

Beta version of a letter to be mailed to one of the higher ups - I'm sure I can get an address from 411.com:

Dear Valued Service Provider,

              We would like to inform you that, in light of your recently established opt-out policy concerning the transfer of personal information, we've begun persuing an alternate business model involving the sale and small-scale manufacture of genetic samples and engineering equipment.

              Our model of collecting said samples was inspired largely in part by your new policy, and in the spirit of cooperation, we'd like to begin with Verizon - it is as follows: our Data Collections agents will enter the dwellings of your employees under the cover of dark and scrape corneal epithelial cells from the surfaces of their eyes.

              If your employees would not like to participate in our Data Collection Program, they have 45 days to mail an opt-out form to our Buffalo, NY headquarters.

Sincerely,
[name]
[company]

How to opt-out (1)

Drantin (569921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27114629)

After signing in to My Verizon (the online account management page) click on the My Profile tab, In the Phone Controls section there's a link titled "View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings" Direct link [verizonwireless.com] for people logged in.

Buy n Large disclaimer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27114651)

Why don't they just adopt the Buy n' Large disclaimer [buynlarge.com] now and save themselves a few steps in subsequent years?

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