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Verizon customers might want to check their privacy settings ASAP

A new 'Verizon Custom Experience' update is automatically tracking your data, location, and contacts.

Sign on a Verizon retail telephone store. (Photo by: Jim Lane/Education Images/Universal Images Grou...
Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Verizon customers take note: One of the telecom giant’s latest, seemingly bland email blasts contains some potentially major privacy changes under the guise of a more “tailored” service.

A new program innocuously titled the “Verizon Custom Experience” is sold to users as a way for the company 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.” To accomplish this, all a Verizon subscriber needs to do is... allow the company access to all the websites you visit, apps you use, as well as see everyone you happen to call and text.

Well, okay, so that’s a bit misleading. You don’t “need” to allow access — Verizon already default granted it. You can manually go in and change a few settings to remedy the situation, though. Here’s how.


Easy to overlook, but easy to fix — All one needs to do is log in to their Verizon mobile account, then go to privacy settings. From there, you can toggle all of your data sharing options and read Verizon’s more detailed explanation of each service. Those managing more than one line on their accounts can also disable the features on each separate number, as well. It’s a small move, but definitely one to consider — data is tracked enough these days.

I only happened on the announcement because I accidentally opened the latest email from my smartphone provider; usually, I simply toss inbox messages from Verizon right into my trash folder. I’m pretty sure that this is what Verizon is counting on here, because it doesn’t take long to realize the new “personalization” system is really just a giant data collection scheme. Although Verizon promises that all your information remains in-house and will not be sold to any third parties, the company already encompasses enough to make this an unappealing prospect.

Luckily, it’s pretty quick and easy to disable your Custom Experience.