Verizon overrides users’ opt-out preferences in push to collect browsing history

When users opt out of a program that scans their browser histories, they are automatically Enrolled in a new version.

A few days ago, the carrier announced changes to its "Verizon Selects" program. The new name of the program is "Verizon Custom Experience Plus". The previous opt-out preferences for some customers have been ignored by the company, which enrolls them in "Custom Experience," which collects browser and app-usage history but doesn't use device location data and other personal information collected in "Custom Experience Plus."

The program "no longer supports third party advertising" and the information collected in either version of Custom Experience is not sold. The data that is shared with service providers who work for us is used 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. If we think you enjoy music, we could give you a offer that includes music content or a concert choice in our reward program.

How to opt out again.

Privacy-conscious users will want to opt out of the instructions provided in this article. You can opt out of being on the privacy page. If you scroll down a bit, you'll see the option to "manage settings" for both Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus. You can either go directly to the Custom Experience settings or select "Manage privacy settings" in the "My Verizon" mobile app.

The options to manage settings on the website or the mobile app will allow you to choose between the two versions of the program. Clicking "Reset" will remove any browsing and location data history that was collected. Account owners can use the website to block Custom Experience for specific phone lines.

The carrier's privacy practices are not good for customers. The FCC found last year that a third party was not authorized to receive location information from a customer. A fine of $48 million was proposed by the commission. The company was fined over a million dollars for putting "supercookie" identifiers into customers' mobile internet traffic without their knowledge or consent.

The FCC privacy rules that would have required home-Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers' opt-in consent before using, sharing, or selling browser history, app-usage history, and other private information were blocked by President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.


Did you opt out? You will be included.

The program changes have been communicated to customers by email. There are different versions of the email, one of which states that people recently opted out of the email. The email was forwarded to Ars by a customer named Jordan.

You will be included in the Custom Experience programs when you are a participant in the Verizon Selects program.
If you opted out of participating in the Selects program, you will still be included in the Custom Experience program.

The email that he received did not say when the "recently opted out" phrase would occur. We contacted the company today and asked about the people who were previously in the same program who are now in the new program. If we get any answers, we'll update this article.

The "recently opted out" language is not included in the FAQ and it makes it sound like all customers can enroll in the non-plus version of Custom Experience regardless of their previous opt-out status.

Unless you opt out, you will be part of the program. You can opt out of the privacy settings on the MyVerizon site or within the MyVerizon app.
Unless you are already participating in the Selects program, you must opt in to the Custom Experience Plus program to be a part of it. The renamed program will automatically include participants from the renamed program.

I received a notification email from the company today. Although I'm pretty sure I didn't opt out of the Selects program, I received an email saying that I would be part of the experience if I didn't opt out.