Your Wireless Carrier Is Watching You — & Selling Your Info

_55A0013Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
There's been plenty of recent buzz about how the U.S. government is snooping a little too much into our personal lives, but apparently Big Brother isn't the only one trying to collect our deets. The biggest breach of our privacy might just come via what many consider their lifeline: our cell phones. According to CNNMoney, the four major mobile carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — all collect data on their customers, which they then aggregate and sell to other companies. Yep, you heard that right: The data on your cell phone is collected, used to profile you, and sold to businesses that want the dirt on potential consumers. What's being collected? Think everything from those app-purchased concert tickets to the particulars of your cab ride home last night.
Verizon offered up some details to CNNMoney about how the company’s program, Precision Market Insights, is using your data. According to a spokeswoman, when you purchase a plan with Verizon, you "agree to let the company use your location, web searches, app usage and other data,” although you can apparently opt-out later. That's a lot of personal data. Verizon reports that any “personally identifying information” is stripped from the data before it's put into the collection. It's then organized so that marketers from other companies can pay to gain some insight about the users.
So, how does it work exactly? Take the Phoenix Suns basketball team, which paid Verizon to learn more about the people attending their games. From the collected data, the team's management discovered the average salaries of attendees, along with their ages and ethnicities, how they traveled to and from the game, and even which neighboring bars they visited after the game.
Obviously, consumers and privacy advocates are not pleased to learn that this info is being collected and sold, even if opting out is an option. Our advice? Always read the fine print when you're signing up for a service — and make the opt-out button your friend. (CNNMoney)

More from Tech

Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the company has developed new video-enabled sunglasses, called Spectacles, and will subsequently be rebranding ...
You're at 20,000 feet, and you realize your flight doesn’t have WiFi — which wouldn't be a big deal, except you forgot your book at home, and none of your ...
It's a sad but true fact that a bad commute — one where you just miss the bus or subway — has the power to ruin your day. More often than not, these near...
When you think of playing a video game, what comes to mind? Is it a raucous game of Wii Bowling when you were in college? Hours spent on your Game Boy ...
If you're a Yahoo user (or ever have been), you'll want to change your password ASAP — and not just on that Yahoo account. Today, the company confirmed ...
There are two types of people in this world: the zero-inbox purists, and the ones with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread messages in their inbox. ...