Here’s another “heads up” about Verizon’s ongoing efforts to obtain and sell customer information. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) entered into a settlement with Verizon over the latter’s continuing misuse of “supercookies” (www.fcc.gov; “FCC Settles Verizon “Supercookies” Probe”).

What are supercookies and why is this settlement important? Supercookies are unique, undeletable identifiers (UIDH) that are inserted into Verizon customers’ mobile Internet traffic without their knowledge or consent. UIDHs are used to identify customers in order to deliver targeted ads from Verizon and other 3rd parties to Verizon customers. These ads are sent to Verizon customers even if they haven’t consented to this practice.

Under this settlement, Verizon has to pay a $1,350,000.00 fine and adopt a 3 year compliance plan. Equally important, Verizon has to notify its customers about their targeted advertising programs; has to get customers’ opt-in consent before sharing their UIDH with 3rd parties; and has to get customers’ opt-in or opt-out consent before sharing UIDHs internally within the Verizon corporate group.

Verizon customers must keep alert for such notices from Verizon. Then they can choose whether they do or do not want this information used to receive targeted ads.