Verizon now owns AOL, so AOL now owns your web browsing habits, other personal info

Carrier will share dossiers on people for targeted advertising

AOL logos

US telco giant Verizon has given notice it will be providing information on its subscribers to AOL for targeted advertising.

A notice in Verizon's privacy policy warns users that beginning next month, information such as device information, addresses and whereabouts, and browsing habits, will be given to AOL so it can sling relevant ads at netizens.

"Starting in November, we will combine Verizon's existing advertising programs – Relevant Mobile Advertising and Verizon Selects – into the AOL Advertising Network," Verizon said.

"The combination will help make the ads you see more valuable across the different devices and services you use."

Verizon said that the information it will be opening up to AOL includes user email and postal addresses, as well as device and plan information and possibly collected data such as age and gender. Verizon said the shared data will only be used for AOL's own sites and ad network.

Verizon said that the new policy would aim to link up Verizon and AOL advertising networks, giving access to user activity within the browser and while using mobile apps. It would allow AOL to target ads to a single user over multiple devices.

The change comes in the wake of Verizon's $4.4bn acquisition of AOL earlier this year. The deal sought to give Verizon greater reach in its web advertising branch, an area AOL has concentrated on since abandoning its ISP business.

AOL, meanwhile, said it will keep its own privacy policy for its sites and, if there are instances where the AOL and Verizon policies conflict, AOL will overrule Verizon.

Users who don't want to have their data slurped by either Verizon or AOL can opt out of the advertising networks by setting preferences in the Verizon privacy choices or AOL AdChoices pages. ®




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