Beware: Carriers Tracking Millions of Phones with Super-Cookies

Privacy Advocates are urging Verizon and other mobile Relevant Products/Services carriers to stop using so-called “perma-cookies,” also called super-cookies, to help marketers create more targeted ads based on their customers’ unique browsing habits. Since the use of these unique identifier headers, or UIDHs, was first reported last week, concerns about their potential for abuse have continued to grow.
Crypto-security Relevant Products/Services expert Kenneth White last week revealed that some mobile carriers have been inserting a cookie-like string of code at the network Relevant Products/Services level into their customers’ data Relevant Products/Services without customer Relevant Products/Services knowledge. Verizon has acknowledged it began using UIDHs in 2012 to provide its ad partners with “demographic and third-party interest-based segments” to help them deliver “relevant ads” based on mobile devices’ unique identifiers.

According to a number of reports, Verizon has used the perma-cookie to track customer activity on more than 100 million mobile devices. It even uses the UIDH with customers who have opted out of its relevant ad program, but said it does not share opt-out customers’ information with marketers. However, Verizon does not use UIDHs for government and some corporate customers, according to a report in AdAge.

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