We’re having flashbacks to 2012, as it’s spreading across the web at Verizon has automatically enrolled its wireless customers into something called a Verizon Custom Experience program. TL;DR: It’s data collecting bullshit designed to target you better for the purpose of selling ads.
In a broader breakdown, what does VCE do? It collects way too much personal information for my tastes, then according to Verizon’s website, uses that data to, “personalize our communications with you, give you more relevant product and service recommendations, and develop plans, services and offers that are more appealing to you.”
Specifically, VCE collects your app usage, web history, location, as well as the people you contact. Seems like a bit much, right?
According to the digging of Input and Gizmodo, we can already tell you that Verizon keeps data about the websites a user visits for “no more than six months” and holds onto location and customer proprietary network information (CPNI) information for up to a year. In addition, call records, including the times and duration of calls, are recorded, though, conversations and text messages are not used.
If this isn’t what you signed up for and want to GTFO of this, I don’t blame you. Thankfully, the process of exiting VCE is easy enough. Open the My Verizon app on your smartphone, enter the Settings tab, then locate the Privacy Settings menu where you’ll see the option to disable Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus. Once located, press “Don’t Use” for both programs. That’ll be the end of that… for now.
While you’re at it, there is likely additional data collection settings in the app. Go ahead and disable all of it. Verizon will attempt to make it sound beneficial to you to keep it all enabled, but yeah, that’s all a lie. Turn it all off.
I have to think that if Verizon was more transparent with things like this, it wouldn’t be so shocking and maddening. But no, they opt for the sneaky automatic enrollment tact, which has to leave a nasty taste in a customer’s mouth. It’s gross, with Verizon customers already paying large amounts of money for cell service, it’s as if Verizon feels entitled to this data. Customer privacy concerns are at an all time high and this is simply the latest scum move by a massive corporation that should know better.