Verizon's Latest Data Slurping Program


For those non-US forum members, Verizon is the most expensive mobile service provider here, and allegedly has the widest coverage (but with somewhat frequent congestion issues, I’ve read somewhere).

It strains credulity that its paid subscribers should also be subjected to such data exploitation, unless they opt out. And even then, can they trust Verizon to respect their privacy?

P.S. Verizon is also a residential fiber optic internet provider in some areas (via Verizon FIOS).

How are they collecting “browsing history”?

Is this just domain names (web sites) or full URLs?

For example, if I configure my browser to use DNS over HTTPS and only visit secure web sites then that limits what they can easily collect and avoids collection of some things entirely - if Verizon is intercepting all insecure traffic or recording traffic to their DNS servers or both.

Do they give you visibility of what they have collected about you?


Verizon apps are a whole new level of threat. Is it possible to have a service with Verizon without installing and using their apps?

Obviously any mobile provider can always get coarse location information (based on the tower).

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I don’t have experience with Verizon, but I would guess that it’s optional, especially for devices not sold/branded by them, i.e. non-carrier-locked devices that customers provide themselves.

I’ve only ever had service from T-mobile, and MVNOs operating on T-mobile’s or AT&T’s networks, and no company app was ever a requirement…although they might, like ever other commercial entity these days, try to convince you to install it, for the data harvesting benefits, no doubt.

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As long as there are dumbphones (that have no capability to run apps at all), I would suppose that carriers can’t exactly mandate that you run an app.

I have to say that I found that FAQ profoundly deficient. It really doesn’t answer the key questions about their data slurping.

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These will soon not be a thing in the U.S., due to the VoLTE requirement. They may masquerade as “dumb,” but they’re really 4G LTE data terminals. (I think most of them run some form of “basic” Android anyway, and come with apps pre-installed, too.)

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I use Verizon with an unlocked phone running Calyx OS. Verizon apps are not necessary, but I’m sure are installed and not uninstallable on the phones they sell. To be fair (not to defend, mind you) they did email me about this service and told me I needed to opt out. So… that’s something…?


Their apps are pre-installed and auto-start on their phones. You can’t uninstall most of them.

So you would have to do it BYO, as @amarok suggests above.

Anyone also notice Google’s new terms of service email effective Jan 5?


I never deliberately visit Google. Can you elaborate?


I got a gmail telling me about it. On my gmail account only of course. Anyone with here gmail should have got one this morning.

If you don’t have gmail, no worries.

I’m genuinely interested in any new evil they’ve implemented, though! :laughing:

That is a beautiful sentence. I read it, and suddenly felt that despite everything, there is hope. :slight_smile:


Will wait for something in the news to appear, maybe something on Slashdot in a few days? Bruce Schneier on Cryptogram? If it was anything newsworthy, some computer critic will mention it. Otherwise it was just one of those emails one just deletes.

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I should also point out that I do quite deliberately block Google wherever I can. :laughing:


Exactly. If you want to avoid worry then don’t have a gmail account or indeed anything else Google.

You may have legitimate or unavoidable reasons for having a gmail account. That’s OK.

So far I have avoided having a gmail account.

Maybe we should get back to Verizon’s data slurping though.

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