How to opt-out of Verizon’s personal info-sharing scheme

DownloadDocument.png

When you sign up with Verizon, it sends out a tiny-print leaflet to customers informing them (under the vague title above) that they’ll share subscribers’ personal information unless you explicitly opt out. It does not provide instructions on how to do so without calling them, customers report that calling them is no help, and even when you log into your account, Verizon has made the online copies of this legalese document inaccessible to some of its own subscribers.

I can get to mine, so here it is: DownloadDocument.pdf.

David Weinberger and Read Write Web scald Verizon for this awful situation, and Weinberger figured out a direct link to the opt-out page.

Here are detailed instructions:

Firstly, log into your account at verizonwireless.com.

Then click on the “My Profile” tab.

verizon1.jpg

Scroll down to the “Phone Controls” section. There, click on “View/Edit Privary (CPNI) Settings.”

verizon2.jpg

On the next page, click the radio button beneath “Do not share my CPNI” in the row for “All Cell Phone Numbers.” Then click “Submit.”

verizon3.jpg

Verizon’s website should serve a popup confirming the change. Click “Done.”

verizon4.JPG

Update: Verizon got in touch to say it’s been sending these out to new subscribers since 2007–I’ve been with them just a month or two–and directs us to an official blog post on the matter. I’ve updated this post to make it clear that Verizon shares, rather than sells, the information with affiliates and partners.

Update 2: A claimed Verizon insider writes in to say it’s really not as bad as it looks.

I doubt this will make the website, but here’s my take…

I work for Verizon Wireless, and here’s the scoop. When you sign up for service with Verizon Wireless your information is taken by number crunching geeks and when you’re going over your text messaging, minutes, etc, a report is generated and those reports trickle down to a store level where they call and ask if you’d like to increase your text messaging, minutes, etc, to avoid overages charges. The reason why its for all VZW affiliates is because its not a VZW number cruncher usually, from what I understand, but some sort of number cruncher for one of the other companies that helps with the number crunching.

As far as I can tell, VZW just has to cover their butts when they sign you up, because TECHNICALLY VZW and Verizon are seperate companies and sharing info with a seperate company (even if its a member of a group of companies under one big title/group) is illegal according to the FCC.

FYI ATT does it to. At VZW those calls are called OCM or 5 Star calls. At ATT they’re ROCCS calls. You think some guy in a store somewhere is printing all of those flyers and making all of those calls to let you know that you went over your minutes? I promise you, I work in a store, and I couldnt care less if you go over your minutes. Thats your own fault.

But thats what the deal is.

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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42 Responses to How to opt-out of Verizon’s personal info-sharing scheme

  1. FoetusNail says:

    Since Verizon bought Alltel, does this affect Alltel customers?

  2. Anonymous says:

    thanks so much for posting. they don’t make it easy to find these options

  3. daev says:

    Sheesh. Thanks for posting this. My first thought was “Where can I sign up for the parking lot beat-down party?” I’m not at all a fan of paying someone for a service just so they can go and tell the marketing world where I am and say “Sic ‘em, boys!”

    I work for one of the major telcos, and I’m one of the first to tell them where to stick things like this. They tend to think twice about their own employees saying “Don’t buy our shit.” It’s seriously bad press.

    dave

  4. DeeAnAy says:

    @ 12

    The phone number is in the DownloadDocument.pdf link above.

  5. LiquidOC says:

    Thank you so much for enlightening me. I remember receiving this packet, but thought it was just some bullshit without even reading it. But now, I have opted out. Once again, thank you!!!

  6. e_to_the_m says:

    You can also opt out via phone by calling 800-333-9956

  7. zuzu says:

    Verizon Wireless != Verizon. They’re separate companies with separate policies.

    This has been my impression through experience as well.

    Verizon is a jerk like the fat guy on a crowded subway blocking your way to the exit.

    Verizon Wireless is a jerk like the guy who shits on the floor of a crowded subway.

  8. k40red says:

    Thank you for the pdf. I logged onto my account and funny thing no link for the opt out CPNI. So i called the 800 number and 123 i was opted out.

  9. Wordguy says:

    Thanks for this really useful post. I wonder why they have the oddly helpful “all cell phone numbers” radio button. I’m surprised they don’t make you go to a separate screen for each number.

  10. greynoldsct00 says:

    I just went through this process, but it didn’t take, I got this wonderfully nebulous reason why from Verizon:

    “In order to process your request, the settings must be different from the existing ones.”

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much.

  12. Anonymous says:

    that would explain why i got a text message from some company saying i was approved for some sort of mortgage.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me this is a CYA for them to give your private data to the Government, without having to worry about any warrants or other inconvenient means of abiding by the law. WE

  14. Enochrewt says:

    Ugh, it’s hard to keep up with all the crap that these companies surripticiously change after you’ve agreed to pay for service.

    And maybe I’m just dumb, not wired right, or something, but it took me 10 minutes just to figure out where to sign in on their damn website.

  15. SpeedRacer says:

    Odd. I went to opt-out and I was already opted out. Maybe they have heard the uproar? Doubtful, but maybe.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have a verizon online account (nor do I want one) Isn’t there a phone number one can call to opt out?

  17. Anonymous says:

    As a Verizon Wireless customer (one who didn’t even receive the mentioned leaflet, I might add), I thank you heartily for this easy-peasy walkthrough.

  18. TEKNA2007 says:

    Rob Beschizza@3:

    They’re welcome to call my laptop’s WWAN adapter all they like!

    Don’t think we won’t! I’m having my WWAN dial your WWAN and we’re having a throwdown hoedown on the internets! First one to go over the 5GB cap loses big-time.*

    *And don’t ask how I know this. Owwie.

    Thanks for the destructions.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanks!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Social engineers, take Rob’s phone number, now read all his posts / google him to death, make a fake female profile and friend him on Facebook. Then take all this info and call Verizon to cancel his service.

    Seriously? Posting even your WWAN’s cellphone #?

    (Somehow I have a feeling the boingboing freespeech patrol won’t post this anonymous comment, they don’t exactly live by the words Cory preaches)

  21. 2bithacker says:

    Just a pet peeve of mine, but Verizon Wireless != Verizon. They’re separate companies with separate policies.

  22. Paco says:

    There should be a site with a collection of these walkthroughs for every internet, cable tv, telephone, credit card, or other service that believes these auto-inclusive information sharing scams is good business.

  23. mightymouse1584 says:

    well to be fair, it looks like they’re sharing the info with their “related” companies. I don’t think this means they’ll be selling it to third parties. Still ridiculous and clearly, your privacy is not important for this company, but i think its worth the time to mention they’re at least not selling it to any and all interested parties.

  24. mdh says:

    It seems to me this is a CYA for them to give your private data to the Government,

    If – you believe the gov’t owns verizon wireless, or has a marketing agreement with them – then yes.

  25. BobbyMike says:

    Thanks, I was wondering where the Albany Times Union got my number from.

  26. Gronk says:

    I love the way they say “Your privacy is important to us.” It implies some truly impressive feats of semantic gymnastics. Think rubber-flexible snakepeople contortionists with extra twisty X-Files DNA.

  27. HowardsGrl says:

    Thank you for this info very much!

  28. cinemajay says:

    Thanks for posting this Rob! I wouldn’t have known about this at all since I did not receive a notice. Neither did my wife (we’re both Verizon customers).

    I’ve opted out and I’m forwarding this to her to do the same.

  29. Jenonymous says:

    THANK YOU for the direct links and the PDF; I didn’t even get the working link until today. Please keep these goodies coming.

  30. kitschnbeautician says:

    Thank you, Boing Boing! Besides all the funny, freaky, fabulous stuff on here- there’s this – stuff I need to know.
    I used the direct link and sure enough, the box to share my info was checked. I unchecked it and also took a moment to complain about not receiving this in the mail and having to “opt out” in the first place – when, to the best of my knowledge, I never “opted in” in the first place.
    Thank you all for such a great website – I check it daily :)

  31. Mikeywin says:

    I didn’t even get one of these notices, but I logged onto the website, and lo and behold I was signed up to share my info…gah… I wish I could drop verizon, but the other ones are just as evil really…

  32. gramiq says:

    Just pointing out … you blurred your account number, but apparently left your cell phone number plain as day.

    I’m not going to call you, but less-scrupulous people might.

    Also, LOVE the big green arrows!

  33. zuzu says:

    Does this apply to FiOS customers, or just VZW customers?

  34. Anonymous says:

    I doubt this will make the website, but here’s my take…

    I work for Verizon Wireless, and here’s the scoop. When you sign up for service with Verizon Wireless your information is taken by number crunching geeks and when you’re going over your text messaging, minutes, etc, a report is generated and those reports trickle down to a store level where they call and ask if you’d like to increase your text messaging, minutes, etc, to avoid overages charges. The reason why its for all VZW affiliates is because its not a VZW number cruncher usually, from what I understand, but some sort of number cruncher for one of the other companies that helps with the number crunching.

    As far as I can tell, VZW just has to cover their butts when they sign you up, because TECHNICALLY VZW and Verizon are seperate companies and sharing info with a seperate company (even if its a member of a group of companies under one big title/group) is illegal according to the FCC.

    FYI ATT does it to. At VZW those calls are called OCM or 5 Star calls. At ATT they’re ROCCS calls. You think some guy in a store somewhere is printing all of those flyers and making all of those calls to let you know that you went over your minutes? I promise you, I work in a store, and I couldnt care less if you go over your minutes. Thats your own fault.

    But thats what the deal is.

  35. nixiebunny says:

    Thanks for showing all corporations how to make an opt-out instruction sheet.

    Now could you please make one for the credit reporting site annualcreditreport.com – they have the most amazing gauntlet of things to click on and not clock on to avoid signing up for the pay service instead of the free service.

  36. Rob Beschizza says:

    They’re welcome to call my laptop’s WWAN adapter all they like!

  37. sumi says:

    Just tried this for an elderly relative’s prepaid account and there isn’t a visible “phone controls” section. Perhaps it doesn’t apply to prepaid, or else it’s an even more convoluted process.

  38. Felix Mitchell says:

    Is this personal information our contact details or our usage? One is obviously much worse than the other.

    I wonder if UK data protection laws prevent this, if some company were to try it over here.

  39. ripplepoppy says:

    Thanx for that, that was easy & I feel better now!
    Mm, anyone want to set up a website offering links and a how-to for every company we can collectively think of? I deeply regret how much time I spend each year opting out of “privacy” agreements and settings. It deeply annoys me that someone is selling information gathered about my spending/buying history, and making money on what I consider nobody’s business.
    I wish I could incorporate my “marketing profile” or whatever they call them now, and require that it never be shared, ever. Trade secrets eh what jolly hoo hoo. I should be the sole profiting body from information sold pertaining to me.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. The 800 number Verizon provided had seemingly nothing to do with opting out of CPNI, and I couldn’t find the link on the Verizon Wireless site. They are so evil.

  41. Rob Beschizza says:

    “Somehow I have a feeling the boingboing freespeech patrol won’t post this anonymous comment, they don’t exactly live by the words Cory preaches”

    You’re doing it wrong.

  42. MarkM says:

    Wow — Just when you think you’ve already signed out of all possible marketing lists, they invent a new one and REQUIRE YOU NEGOTIATE A BYZANTINE “OPT-OUT” PROCESS that you weren’t even ever informed of.

    It’s a wonderful example of how all marketing lists should be “opt in” and rebuts the casual coaxing of Washington marketing lobbyists who keep saying that “opt in” will obstruct or kill “business.” Well, so be it.

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