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Verizon Sharing Information
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Pegleg Offline

Posts: 457
Joined: Feb 2006
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Verizon Sharing Information
This is so not BBQ related but I felt that all of you who have Verizon would be interested in this info regarding their intent to share information.

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Verizon Wireless, one of the nation's largest cell phone carriers, has stirred up controversy with a letter it sent to customers recently telling them that it would begin sharing information from their calling records with its ''affiliates, agents and parent companies.''

Brian Ashby, associate general counsel for Verizon, said the company was seeking to share that information only among Verizon divisions, so it can better sell new products to existing customers. In the mailing, Verizon gave customers 30 days to ''opt out'' if they did not want their information shared.

But analysts and consumer advocates suggest the company may also be interested in gathering information as it prepares to tailor the advertising it displays on cell phone screens, based on individual customer habits and attributes. Mobile advertising is an untapped source of revenue among phone companies looking to expand their businesses.

The concern about the mailing, which spread quickly online and resulted in the company clarifying its position late Monday, points to the privacy challenges facing communications companies as they seek to deliver information and advertising directly to cell phone users.
''It wouldn't surprise me if they are trying to get more information, a customer profile, as they try to expand into other services, like targeted advertising or offering other products to consumers,'' said Gene Kimmelman,
vice president of federal and international affairs at the nonprofit Consumers Union.

Kimmelman said that using phone records for ad delivery would be especially sensitive. ''There is a cultural expectation of complete privacy with the telephone,'' he said. ''Consumers are not thinking about it yet as a broad multimedia mechanism.''

Ashby said the information collected would be shared only among Verizon's landline, wireless and Internet subsidiaries. Verizon said the information would not include a customer's name, address or phone number, and would be aggregated so that specific records could not be traced back to an individual.

* Verizon Wireless' more than 60 million customers can opt out of sharing their information by calling a toll-free number, 800-333-9956. But if they do not do so within 30 days of receiving the letter, Verizon said it would assume they want their information shared
10-16-2007 09:00 AM
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