According to a statement emailed to Verizon customers, the company will log and collect user data for inclusion in "certain business and marketing reports" and for "making mobile ads you see more relevant."
Websites accessed during mobile browsing sessions, search queries, device location and application feature usage will all be collected and potentially distributed to third parties. Information regarding wireless plan specifications and usage will also be logged, as will customer demographic and interest categories.
"The data we provide could be combined with data provided by other wireless carriers to create a report on the number of mobile users who take a particular highway during rush hour," Verizon officials explained.
Mobile privacy concerns were raised last month when Digital Trends revealed that leading cellular carriers may be holding on to detailed consumer data for years at a time.
"When any company retains data for a long period of time it opens them up to problems and potential abuses," Beth Givens of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse told Digital Trends. "Those problems include data breaches."
While this news may represent the beginning of a more disturbing trend in the commoditization of consumer information, Verizon has taken action to limit potential abuses. Company officials have explicitly stated that no personally identifiable information will be shared and all data will be anonymized prior to transport.
Additionally, customers are encouraged to opt-out of the information sharing practice by contacting the wireless carrier. However, critics suggest that relying on customer intervention represents a disappointing, opt-in approach to data security and consumer protection.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro