Many of us see so many privacy policies and disclaimers these days that they are very hard to pay attention to. If we were to spend the time reading the entirety of every privacy policy that we agree to, we would hardly have time to use the products that we have to agree to use. That being said, Verizon Wireless recently introduced some changes to its policy that may be of concern to smart phone users on the network.

The changes in the privacy policy are outlined on Verizon’s Web site, and there are a couple tidbits that will make the privacy-concerned a little uneasy. Here is some of the information that Verizon is now collecting on a regular basis, unless you opt out.

Mobile Usage Information:

  • Addresses of Web sites you visit when using our wireless service. These data strings (or URLs) may include search terms you have used
  • Location of your device (“Location Information”)
  • App and device feature usage

Consumer Information:

  • Information about your use of Verizon products and services (such as data and calling features, device type, and amount of use)
  • Demographic and interest categories provided to us by other companies, such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner (“demographics”)

This information is not only gathered by Verizon, but also shared with advertisers and other Verizon “partners.” The privacy policy states that identifying information will not be shared with advertisers, but the fact is that Verizon is collecting identifying information that ties your account to searches, Web sites, and locations, and that information could be taken from Verizon in the case of a warrant or subpoena. If you care about your privacy and don’t want your browsing, searching, and where you go to be sent to advertisers, you’ll want to opt out of these new features.

Verizon's New Privacy Policy is Overly Intrusive - Here's How to Opt Out

Here’s how to opt out:

First, log on to your account on the Verizon Web site at VerizonWireless.com and then go to vzw.com/myprivacy with your account logged in. You can also call 1-866-211-0874 if you prefer to talk to a real person about this. On the Privacy Settings page, scroll down to the table below, and make sure your number is set to Don’t use my information for aggregate reports.

Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a similar chart. Like the one above, make sure your phone number is set to Don’t use my demographic info for banners. Finally, click Save Changes.

That’s all you need to do to opt out of these new privacy policy changes. Your personal privacy is very important, and policies like these intrude on things that many people would like to keep personal. Lets hope that Verizon continues to be transparent about what it is doing and keeps it easy to say that you aren’t interested.