How to opt out of Verizon’s shady data tracking

Verizon covertly signed up many of its phone plan users for branded programs that share browsing and location data with the cellular provider. But there’s a way out of it.

Earlier in December, some users discovered their privacy settings had been changed without their knowledge. It seemed to affect customers who were previously part of a rewards program, which had become the Customer Experience Plus program. That’s separate from the Customer Experience program, which an even greater number of users were automatically opted into.

Both, according to the Verizon website, track browsing history, location data, and usage patterns — to help the company “personalize our communications with you, give you more relevant product and service recommendations, and develop plans, services, and offers that are more appealing to you.”

In recent days, the telecommunications company finally started reaching out to users that were unwittingly part of the programs, as The Verge reported. The texts and emails shared more about the programs and how to unsubscribe from the automatic enrollment.

Since it’s an opt-out situation, that puts the onus on you to make the necessary changes. Here’s how you can check to see if you’re enrolled in either program, and the steps you can take to turn off one or both.

  1. Go to the My Verizon website or mobile app

  2. Head to the privacy preferences page

  3. Within there you should see “reset” buttons for Custom Experience and Custom Experience Plus

  4. Toggle off both to opt-out

That $48 million fine Verizon incurred from the Federal Communications Commission in 2020 because, the agency said, the company failed to protect customer location data didn’t seem to have a lasting effect on its data and privacy practices.

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