Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't worry! Verizon isn't planning to give your info to third parties

The notice they sent out was misunderstood:

Several online sites were buzzing this weekend with suspicion that Verizon Wireless was getting going to share its customers' calling records with third parties.

But the fears of imminent advertising pitches for pizza or car insurance were based on a misreading of a cryptic notice the cell-phone carrier has been mailing all its subscribers.

Under the Federal Communications Commission's rules, companies must allow customers to keep their personal data, like information on who they called and for how long, inaccessible to other parts of the same company. And companies must periodically notify subscribers of that right with notices like the one Verizon has been sending out.

In response, customers can tell Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture, not to share information even with its two parent companies, Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.

It is that kind of sharing — which could help Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless send a single bill to joint customers or offer existing customers discounts for added services — that the notice addresses, said Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson.

"It doesn't mean we're providing data to third-party advertisers, and it would be illegal to do so," Nelson said.