Verizon Has Quietly Made Its Tracking 'Supercookies' a Lot More Powerful

It's 2015 and you still have good reasons to despise AOL:

Earlier this year, Verizon was roundly criticized and sued for using "super cookies" that tracked its customers around the internet for advertising purposes regardless of whether or not they had deleted standard tracking cookies. So, naturally, it's making the trackers stronger and more persistent than ever. [...]

Earlier this year, Verizon paid $4.4 billion for AOL and all the companies it owns, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Engadget. That takeover was incredibly important because AOL does most of its business these days as an advertising company.

AOL's advertising network serves ads on roughly 40 percent of the web, according to ProPublica. Verizon knows its customers' home addresses, the type of cell phones they own, the number of people on a given phone plan, and customer financial information. That information can be used by AOL and Verizon to target you much more carefully, which equals better (more expensive) ads.

"The Relevant Mobile Advertising program uses your postal and email addresses, certain information about your Verizon products and services (such as device type), and information we obtain from other companies (such as gender, age range, and interests). The separate Verizon Selects program uses this same information plus additional information about your use of Verizon services including mobile Web browsing, app and feature usage and location of your device. The AOL Advertising Network uses information collected when you use AOL services and visit third-party websites where AOL provides advertising services (such as Web browsing, app usage, and location), as well as information that AOL obtains from third-party partners and advertisers."

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5 Responses:

  1. Anonytrace says:

    "The world is insane"

    Al Jourgensen

  2. Rick C says:

    Ten years ago I worked with a guy who set up a proxy at home, then set his work browser to use that proxy, to get around WebSense. They could only see that he was hitting his own computer all day, but not what he was browsing any more. I would imagine you could add something to that setup to eat VZ's cookie.

  3. tobias says:

    Browse with cookies off, use cookies only in private browser tab. Adblocker at all times. Possibly the only winners are going to be static ads, that pay enough for hosting. As it was in the beginning.

    Unfortunately none of that mitigates, MUTANT BROTH, KARMA POLICE and friends.

    • joe says:

      these ain't browser cookies. they are rewriting the HTTP requests to inject a header that uniquely identifies you. i'm not sure there's anything you can do in your browser to prevent this.

  4. tobias says:

    https always then.

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