The discovery of Verizon’s “permacookies” caused an uproar among privacy advocates and average consumers alike that the company has simply been unable to ignore. As a result, Verizon will soon allow its customers to opt out of its controversial identifier-based tracking program according to a report from The New York Times.
The program, which uses a string of about 50 letter, numbers and characters called a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH), allows Verizon to track its customers’ web traffic in order to build a detailed profiles for targeted advertising purposes.
While customers have been free to opt out of the company’s Relevant Mobile Advertising program and thus, not receive targeted ads, there hasn’t been a way to disable the UIDH.
In a statement issued to the Times, Verizon spokesperson Debi Lewis said they listen to their customers and provide them the ability to opt out of their advertising programs. As such, they’ve started working on a way to opt out of the UIDH which will be available soon.
The move comes just one day after four members of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation sent a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam that criticized the company’s data security and privacy practices. They also demanded an explanation of the UIDH program.
Whether the opt out feature is enough to keep advocates happy, however, seems unlikely. At the very least, it should be an opt in feature according to Electronic Frontier Foundation staff lawyer Nate Cardozo.