The organization admits
to be harvesting information such as “call records, websites visited, wireless location, application and feature usage, network traffic data, product and device-specific information, service options you choose, mobile and device numbers, video streaming and video packages and usage, movie rental and purchase data.”
This is collected for “billing purposes, to deliver and maintain products and services, or to help you with service-related issues or questions.” On the other hand, the carrier highlights the fact that this information would be aggregated before being sent to advertisers.
As expected, the fact that Verizon is recording such a large quantity of information has sparked some controversy.
Hanni Fakhoury of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told
CNET that although the marketing program aggregated information to ensure that customer identities were not exposed, the practice could still violate the Wiretap Act.
Fakhoury claims that there’s not a big difference between “collecting content from one person and turning it over to someone, and collecting it from multiple people, aggregating that information and then turning the aggregated data over to someone else.”
On the other hand, Christopher Soghoian of ACLU makes an interesting point regarding the Precision Marketing Insight program. He underscores the fact that companies that rely solely on advertisements to make a profit (such as Google and Facebook) are entitled to collect information from their customers, considering that they offer their services at no cost.
Soghoian argues that firms that are already getting paid for the services they offer “have no business monetizing the data they're collecting.”