Some very disturbing news has come to light about what cell phone companies are doing with your browsing habits. As data from your phone goes through their servers and out into the internet, they add a uniquely identifiable tag to all of your data. Whoever is on the other end of your request (web pages, ads on those pages, etc) all get that tag. Companies can then pay the cell phone company to convert that tag to information about YOU. This is a goldmine for advertisers because Verizon has an extremely accurate picture about everything you do from your phone and they also have tons of personal data about you. Lovely.
Here are a few places where you can read more:
This is pretty disgusting. Although they say you can opt out, it doesn’t do much good because they still add that tag to all your traffic. They just don’t have your permission to sell the data about you. But even a unique identifier across all of your traffic is pretty ugly.
The only way to really avoid this is to only browse to secure websites (https) because that traffic is encrypted. Or of course you can only use wifi instead of your cellular data, but the point of a smartphone is that you can connect everywhere. The best solution is to let your carrier hear what you think of this policy.
To test whether your carrier is doing this to you, open the following link on your cell phone. Make sure that wifi is turned off so that you’re using your cellular data plan: http://lessonslearned.org/sniff