The Electronic Frontier Foundation is raising questions about the profiling technologies used by Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) Precision Market Insights division. Verizon's Precision Market Insights creates anonymous profiles of Verizon users, including its wireless users, which it sells to advertisers. The advertisers can use the data to create more targeted online advertisements.
According to a detailed article on the topic from Ars Technica, Verizon's Precision Market Insights division launched its profiling technology more than two years ago. The technology, part of the company's Relevant Mobile Advertising service, attaches a "token" called a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) to each Web request from a user that travels over Verizon's wireless network. The system allows Verizon to link a website visitor to its own internal profiles.
"This is even at a more serious level than throttling traffic because ISPs are going in and modifying traffic in transit and that's something that they should not be doing," Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, senior staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars Technica. "They are paid by their customers to be trusted conduit for data, and they should be sending that data through faithfully rather than trying to insert or remove things."
Verizon, for its part, argues it does not share the data outside of the company, and the data is not tied to specific users. Article