Verizon ‘Monitoring’ Sparks Mobile Privacy Concerns

Verizon is raising concern in response to news that the company has started selling information about its customers’ geographical locations, app usage, and Web browsing activities.

According to a report from CNET, the magnitude of concern is growing by the day as privacy questions “could brush up against federal wiretapping law.”

The company this month began offering reports to marketers showing what Verizon subscribers are doing on their phones and other mobile devices, including what iOS and Android apps are in use in which locations. Verizon says it may link the data to third-party databases with information about customers’ gender, age, and even details such as “sports enthusiast, frequent diner or pet owner.”

“We’re able to view just everything that they do,” Bill Diggins, U.S. chief for the Verizon Wireless marketing initiative, was quoted as saying earlier in 2012. “And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.”

Verizon maintains that its “Precision Market Insights” is legal and doesn’t compromise individual identities or sensitive information.

For now, this is what Verizon has to say about the matter:

Verizon is committed to customer privacy and takes the issue seriously. The Precision program complies with the law and protects the privacy of our customers. The reports available through the program will not disclose the content of specific customer communications because each report will contain aggregate data from a large number of customers to protect privacy. Customers who do not want their data used as part of the program can opt-out at any time.

Does Verizon’s stance on this matter make you uncomfortable about mobile privacy? Please weigh in with a thought or comment below.