On January 20th, I wrote about the efforts by Julia Angwin and Mike Tigas at ProPublica to publicize the hidden tracking cookie that Turn was using thanks to Verizon.   In their article, Ms. Angwin and Mr. Tigas reported that AT&T had already announced it would stop inserting this hidden undeletable number in its user’s web traffic.  At that time, Verizon didn’t say that it would follow suit.

Ms. Angwin now reports that 2 days after their article, Verizon reversed its practice and will soon be allowing its customers a way to opt-out of this hidden tracking code (www.propublica.org; “Verizon Will Now Let Users Kill Previously Indestructible Tracking Code”; January 30th).  The opt-out will give Verizon customers a way to stop having their smartphone and tablet browsing tracked via this hidden code.  Per Ms. Angwin, Verizon has revised its FAQs on its website about this code.

I confirmed that by going to the Verizon website (www.verizonwireless.com).  The FAQ about “privacy” has been revised.  Verizon customers should read these FAQs; the hidden code is called the UIDH for “Unique Identifier Header.”

Is this change of policy by Verizon good?  Sure but it would be so much better for customers if Verizon gave them the option of opting in for this as part of Verizon’s mobile ad-targeting program rather than having to opt out.