Verizon: FINE OK, you can now rid your life of our stalker supercookies

Sure, they're still undeletable, but if you ask nicely we'll turn it off

Verizon has finally got around to giving its subscribers the option to opt out of its controversial supercookie tracking program. Customers can find the switch in their My Verizon account settings, or by calling the toll-free number (866) 211-0874.

"Verizon Wireless provides customers the ability to opt-out of our advertising programs, and we have been working to expand the opt-out to include the Unique Identifier Headers, also known as an identifier," a company spokesperson told El Reg.

"Our systems have been changed so that we automatically stop inserting the Unique Identifier Headers for customers who opt out of our Relevant Mobile Advertising program or activate a line that is ineligible for our advertising programs."

The use of the tracking mechanism, which injects a Unique Identifier Token Header (UIDH) into every HTTP request to websites via its mobile data network, drew criticism from privacy advocates, who argued that the inability to completely disable the tracking system was a violation of their rights. The UIDHs are unique to each subscriber, allowing ad networks to follow Verizon users around the internet, get an idea of their interests, and serve them tailored web adverts.

Verizon has been injecting the UIDHs since 2012 to track traffic running through its mobile network. Ad networks were using the always-on supercookies to track and target users even when they had asked Verizon not to track them.

Verizon said in January that it would be working on an opt-out switch to let users remove themselves from the UIDH program. Users who were on enterprise or government service plans were not subjected to the UIDH tracking. ®


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