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Privacy Alert! Verizon is going to tell people where you are

We recently told you that the federal government is proposing strict new laws to protect your privacy. Specifically, the Federal Communications Commission wants to limit how ISPs share your personal data with others.

The bad news is that some cellphone providers like Verizon will push the limits of sharing your data, like telling companies where you are, until the FCC forces them not to. Verizon is already doing that with some customers.

It's all in the name of advertising, which only makes it worse. Verizon is starting to share your whereabouts with AOL advertisers. Verizon owns AOL.

Verizon is offering to tell those advertisers where you are. Right now, it's a test for some advertisers, with plans to make it available to all advertisers later this year.

Here's how it works. Say you're a Verizon customer and you see an ad for a big sale at your favorite store. You drive over and go into the store. Now, AOL advertisers will know that you saw the ad and went in that store.

Verizon's creepy Precision Marketing Insights (PMI) is considered an advertising milestone by some ad executives. Why? Because it's making it much easier for advertisers, some who spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on ads, to see if their ads are working.

Verizon is no stranger to exposing your personal information. Earlier this month, they agreed to pay the FCC $1.35 million for invading your privacy.

The company shares your online activity with advertisers. It uses something called a supercookie to do it. (Read more about it here.) It attaches a unique identifying header to your Web traffic.

The idea is that advertisers can follow you around, to see which sites you're visiting. Then, they'll match your interests with specific ads you might like. If you remember, AT&T used to use supercookies but stopped after receiving a lot of backlash for invading your privacy.

Note: Read these tips to stop carriers from tracking your mobile browsing. Plus, keep reading Happening Now for updates on the FCC's March 31 vote on its proposed new privacy rules.


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