After a long dispute with privacy advocates and watch groups, Verizon Wireless will reportedly alter its ad-targeting program and disband the use of mandatory supercookies.
Unlike regular cookies, which can be wiped from a person's browser at any time, the code from a supercookie is a bit stickier. It is designed to evade the deleting capabilities in common browser cookies and can be used to re-create users' profiles even after a regular cookie is deleted.
Verizon Wireless has utilized supercookies for marketing purposes as part of its ad-targeting program. What's more, the mobile carrier has, up to this point, disabled its users from being able to opt out of the practice.
But according to the New York Times, Verizon Wireless is finally ready to make a policy change. Here's the statement Verizon Wireless spokesperson Debi Lewis sent to the publication:
Verizon takes customer privacy seriously and it is a central consideration as we develop new products and services. As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus.
We listen to our customers and provide them the ability to opt out of our advertising programs. 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. As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs.
It's unclear at this point how Verizon Wireless plans to handle the policy change in terms of its communication to users. But privacy advocates cited in the New York Times article are calling for the company to go a step further and make the tracking features opt-in, rather than opt-out.