back to article Ad agency Turn turns off Verizon's zombie cookies

Online advertising agency Turn has promised to stop using repurposed Verizon undeletable cookies to track people's online habits and sell them stuff. For the last couple of years Verizon has been injecting a "unique identifier token header" (UIDH) into HTTP requests sent by customers online. It then sells that data to …

  1. Shadow Systems

    Dear Scumvertiser...

    You claim that our deleting the cookie isn't proof that we don't want to be tracked.

    Then neither is that Restraining Order any indication that you don't want me stalking you & your family, videotaping your every bodily function, standing in the shower with your wife/daughter, checking to see what brand of shampoo she uses while shaving her pubes.

    Fuck off and die.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Dear Scumvertiser...

      Wrong target. Verizon is the real malicious actor in this instance.

      Not that the Scumvertiser wasn't wrong, just that they couldn't do what they did if Verizon hadn't DRM rooted their customers phones in the first place.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now that other ad agencies are aware of it

    Usage will go up. Publicizing Turn's use of it is going to backfire. The real solution (and challenge) is to get Verizon to drop it, or at the very least allow opting out of it.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Now that other ad agencies are aware of it

      Or another solution, block traffic from ad servers.

      I'm actively DNS poisoning a handful of ad server sites after receiving malvertisement attempts.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It looks like Ad Agencies will join

    the ever increasing list of social outcasts

    you know like Bankers, Lawyers, Politicians, Estate Agents, Used Car Salesmen, PPI Scammers etc

    I say, let's tar and feather the whole lot of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It looks like Ad Agencies will join

      I think they've been on the list for a long time, pretty much since they've had access to personal data without the owners consent. They're just easier to detest now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It looks like Ad Agencies will join

      they've been there, firmly, for years, even before the internet became "the" thing. And they've worked hard to earn the place in this company.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: It looks like Ad Agencies will join

      What mean'um will?

      As far as I knew they joined them a long time ago.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: It looks like Ad Agencies will join

      Only if we get to light them on fire afterwards, pretty please.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Header noise

    Has anyone tested putting one or more fake Verizon headers in the HTTP headers in the client request? There are Chrome and Firefox add-ons which let you furtle with them.

    Maybe Verizon doesn't overwrite them all and the end result is several Verizon headers and with luck advertising companies will pick the wrong one.

    1. Charles 9

      Re: Header noise

      I suspect Verizon is savvy enough to be able to authenticate its real token via phone-specific information and be able to easily scrub the false ones. The length of the key is indicative of a hash value which could be derived from your phone's identity plus a secret key of Verizon's. About the only way to avoid Verizon's tagging is to use a VPN or not use Verizon, which may not be an option for, say, businesses under contract and so on. And with a pro-business Congress in session, there will be no relief from the government on this.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: Header noise

        Just use someone elses. Surprised no ones posted an online clearing house yet...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turn insisted it was doing nothing wrong

    or illegal, nosir. Just helping the users to be fed shit, for their best viewing experience.

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "We have heard the concerns and are actively re-evaluating this method,"

    Shame you didn't think there might be any "concerns" by maybe, you know, asking people before starting yet another creepy data raping system or even using your own instead of piggy-backing on others "work".

    Of course, they are tracking and spying on Verizon customers without consent, including minors unable to even give consent. Verizon have a lot to answer for too for enabling it, even though they claim not to use it.

    These people really do seem to live in some closed off private little world of their own where morals are a serious career impediment.

  7. FormerKowloonTonger
    IT Angle

    Nasty On-Line Data Manipulators, The New Alchemists?

    Pretty clever, eh? This turning of our individual data-clicks into countable and bankable pounds and dollars, eh? That's a big 'effing' mass privacy violation. [Vigorously defended, of course]

    Hmmmm, then why not let's apply this technique [these techniques] of users' clicks towards identifying the traffic routes of Muslim terrorists and their prospective agents? Channel this valuable technique to save human lives at future kosher markets and at courageous publications' sites?

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