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Paul Merrell

Everything You Need to Know About AOL's Zombie Apocalypse | nsnbc international - 0 views

  • America Online (AOL) will be resurrecting Verizon’s zombie cookies because they are fabulous data-trackers that cannot be “killed”. AOL wants to boost their ad revenue regardless of the infringement on customer privacy they pose and the enabling of hacker attacks they can facilitate.
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    "The zombie cookies will allow AOL to "acquire demographic data on users" while simultaneously using their own advertising network to track user browsing history, use pf apps on smartphones and their geo-location coordinates. Earlier this year, ProPublica released a report regarding the advertising company called Turn and their zombie cookies that are used by large tech firms to "come back to life" even after users have deleted them. In the ProPublica report, it was revealed that Turn is "taking advantage of a hidden undeletable number that Verizon uses to monitor customers' habits on their smartphones and tablets" by respawning those "tracking cookies that users have deleted." Called unique identifier headers (UIDHs), or perma-cookies, this sneaky monitoring of customers is used "to help marketers create more targeted ads based on their customers' unique browsing habits." In 2012, UIDHs were used by Verizon to provide a way for advertisers with "demographic and third-party interest-based segments" to help them deliver "relevant ads" based on mobile devices' unique identifiers. Shockingly, more than 100 million Verizon customers were affected by this snooping by the corporation, tracking individual customer usage and reporting the findings to the federal government and advertising corporations."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Verizon trots out analyst to say unlimited data is bad for customers | Ars Technica - 1 views

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    "There is no practical effect of data limits on the majority of users." by Jon Brodkin - Apr 13, 2015 8:28pm CEST"
Paul Merrell

Verizon Will Now Let Users Kill Previously Indestructible Tracking Code - ProPublica - 0 views

  • Verizon says it will soon offer customers a way to opt out from having their smartphone and tablet browsing tracked via a hidden un-killable tracking identifier. The decision came after a ProPublica article revealed that an online advertiser, Turn, was exploiting the Verizon identifier to respawn tracking cookies that users had deleted. Two days after the article appeared, Turn said it would suspend the practice of creating so-called "zombie cookies" that couldn't be deleted. But Verizon couldn't assure users that other companies might not also exploit the number - which was transmitted automatically to any website or app a user visited from a Verizon-enabled device - to build dossiers about people's behavior on their mobile devices. Verizon subsequently updated its website to note Turn's decision and declared that it would "work with other partners to ensure that their use of [the undeletable tracking number] is consistent with the purposes we intended." Previously, its website had stated: "It is unlikely that sites and ad entities will attempt to build customer profiles.
  • However, policing the hundreds of companies in the online tracking business was likely to be a difficult task for Verizon. And so, on Monday, Verizon followed in the footsteps of AT&T, which had already declared in November that it would stop inserting the hidden undeletable number in its users' Web traffic. In a statement emailed to reporters on Friday, Verizon said, "We have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH, and expect that to be available soon." Previously, users who opted out from Verizon's program were told that information about their demographics and Web browsing behavior would no longer be shared with advertisers, but that the tracking number would still be attached to their traffic. For more coverage, read ProPublica's previous reporting on Verizon's indestructible tracking and how one company used the tool to create zombie cookies.
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    Good for Pro Publica!
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Carriers Tell U.S. 'No' to Plans for Internet Fast Lanes - 1 views

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    [# Another little freedom battle won by citizens...] "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments."
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    [# Another little freedom battle won by citizens...] "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments."
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    "In recent letters, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon said they have no plans to seek deals with content providers that would give faster Internet performance in exchange for special payments." [ # How Good it would be # ! ... if it were #true... # ! #Time Will '#Tell' # ! And, if real, it will be thanks to citizens' #coordinated #struggle...]
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    Too early to declare victory. The battle isn't over until FCC adopts regulations *forbidding* the carriers from charging extra for faster data transmission. Company statements using weasel words like they "have no plans" leave a wide open door to change their minds after a regulation is adopted that permits the surcharges to be made. It could be a ploy to dampen the number of emails the FCC, the White House, and Congress are receiving. In matters of the public interest law type, what the corporate side says is irrelevant and frequently is a lie. What matters is the wording of the final rule.
Paul Merrell

Verizon Injecting Perma-Cookies to Track Mobile Customers, Bypassing Privacy Controls |... - 0 views

  • Verizon users might want to start looking for another provider. In an effort to better serve advertisers, Verizon Wireless has been silently modifying its users' web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker. This tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors' web browsing habits without their consent.Verizon apparently created this mechanism to expand their advertising programs, but it has privacy implications far beyond those programs. Indeed, while we're concerned about Verizon's own use of the header, we're even more worried about what it allows others to find out about Verizon users. The X-UIDH header effectively reinvents the cookie, but does so in a way that is shockingly insecure and dangerous to your privacy. Worse still, Verizon doesn't let users turn off this "feature." In fact, it functions even if you use a private browsing mode or clear your cookies. You can test whether the header is injected in your traffic by visiting lessonslearned.org/sniff or amibeingtracked.com over a cell data connection.How X-UIDH Works, and Why It's a Problem
  • To compound the problem, the header also affects more than just web browsers. Mobile apps that send HTTP requests will also have the header inserted. This means that users' behavior in apps can be correlated with their behavior on the web, which would be difficult or impossible without the header. Verizon describes this as a key benefit of using their system. But Verizon bypasses the 'Limit Ad Tracking' settings in iOS and Android that are specifically intended to limit abuse of unique identifiers by mobile apps.
  • Because the header is injected at the network level, Verizon can add it to anyone using their towers, even those who aren't Verizon customers.
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  • We're also concerned that Verizon's failure to permit its users to opt out of X-UIDH may be a violation of the federal law that requires phone companies to maintain the confidentiality of their customers' data. Only two months ago, the wireline sector of Verizon's business was hit with a $7.4 million fine by the Federal Communications Commission after it was caught using its "customers' personal information for thousands of marketing campaigns without even giving them the choice to opt out." With this header, it looks like Verizon lets its customers opt out of the marketing side of the program, but not from the disclosure of their browsing habits.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Both Comcast And Verizon Agree To Pay Millions To Settle Overbilling Claims | Techdirt - 1 views

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    "from the but-you-can-trust-them dept The big broadband players keep trying to tell us (and politicians and regulators) how good they are and how much we can trust them. Part of their whole pitch on killing net neutrality is that they'd never do anything to harm consumers." [ # ! First... # ! #citizens' #swindling; # ! then, #government #bribing... # ! #Unfair, anyhow we look at it. # ! :/]
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    "from the but-you-can-trust-them dept The big broadband players keep trying to tell us (and politicians and regulators) how good they are and how much we can trust them. Part of their whole pitch on killing net neutrality is that they'd never do anything to harm consumers."
Paul Merrell

Germany Fires Verizon Over NSA Spying - 0 views

  • Germany announced Thursday it is canceling its contract with Verizon Communications over concerns about the role of U.S. telecom corporations in National Security Agency spying. “The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms after the N.S.A. affair show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks,” declared Germany’s Interior Ministry in a statement released Thursday. The Ministry said it is engaging in a communications overhaul to strengthen privacy protections as part of the process of severing ties with Verizon. The announcement follows revelations, made possible by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Germany is a prime target of NSA spying. This includes surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone communications, as well as a vast network of centers that secretly collect information across the country. Yet, many have accused Germany of being complicit in NSA spying, in addition to being targeted by it. The German government has refused to grant Snowden political asylum, despite his contribution to the public record about U.S. spying on Germany.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The People Prevail: FCC Calls Off Closed-Door Meetings on Net Neutrality | Save the Int... - 0 views

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    By Megan Tady, August 5, 2010 You called, you emailed and you signaled your outrage as the Federal Communications Commission continued to meet behind closed doors with Internet companies, and Google and Verizon hatched a side plan on how to manage the Internet. And then, you prevailed. Amidst a tidal wave of public pressure, FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus called off closed-door negotiations with major ISPs and Internet companies, pledging "to seek broad input on this vital issue."
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