America’s most expensive cell phone carrier, Verizon Wireless, has recently started automatically enrolling its customers on a data collection program which they call Custom Experience. The bad part about this program is that Verizon is enrolling its customers without their consent. Verizon’s reasoning for this is that they can give you better content personalized specifically for you if you have Custom Experience enabled.
What are the benefits of Verizon Custom Experience?
Although Custom Experience has been negatively received by Verizon’s customers and the media, this program will only benefit the customers because they’ll receive “more relevant product and service recommendations, and develop plans, services, and offers that are more appealing to you.” As an example, if Verizon discovers that you like a certain type of music, Verizon will provide you with concert information related to that type of music through the VerizoUp reward program.
Unlike other platforms like Facebook or Google, which give you a free-of-charge product in exchange for your data, Verizon will not give you any discount or free products. What you will get from them instead are more personalized marketing materials.
Which information does the program collects?
As stated by Verizon themselves, this is what the carrier will collect on users with Custom Experience enabled:
- Domain named of visited websites. Just the domain name, not the particular page you’re visiting.
Verizon also has Custom Experience Plus, which even collects more data including:
- Your device loation. Either through Verizon app or triangulated location.
- Information about your Verizon Fios account if you have them along with Verizon Wireless.
- Incoming, outgoing calls and its amont of time you have been communicating with that partuclar number through Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI).
Should I enable Verizon Custom Experience?
As Verizon explains on their FAQ page, information collected through the Verizon Custom Experience will not be sold to third-party advertising companies. Verizon says it will share this information only with service providers they work with but the shared information cannot be used for advertising purposes and must be kept protected at all costs.
While Verizon should’ve been more ethical and not automatically opt-in to all of their customers without consent, there should not be any harm by having this program enabled. The only difference you’ll notice is that any marketing material sent out to you through any Verizon method of communications (email, their app) will be tailored to you and not just some random content.
Disable Verizon Custom Experience
Luckily, if you believe Verizon should not be tracking your personal information to send you personalized advertisements, you can easily opt out of the program with a few clicks. You can turn off the Verizon Custom Experience by calling Verizon, using the MyVerizon app, or through Verizon.com.
Opt out Custom Experience using the Verizon app
The easiest way of disabling the program is through the app.
- Open the My Verizon app and log into your account.
- Tap the Settings icon at the upper-right-hand corner of the app.
- Scroll down to “Manage privacy settings.”
- From there, you’ll have the option to turn of a bunch of tracking settings including Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), Business and Marketing Insights, Custm Experience, and Custom Experience Plus.
Opt-out through Verizon.com
- Login through a web browser to your account on verizon.com.
- Click Account> Privacy Settings.
- From that page, click “Custom Experience” and then click the “Don’t use option. Hit the “Save changes” button. Do the same for the Custom Experience Plus option.