Mobile

How to opt out of Verizon's 'supercookie' tracking program

Here's what you can do to prevent the carrier from tracking your mobile activity.

Lynn La/CNET

Verizon came under fire this past January for bundling what privacy advocates called a "supercookie" with every smartphone. Mobile devices on the carrier's network include what the company calls a Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH. This is a unique tracking code that allows the carrier to monitor your online activities and analyze your interests. This data is then used for targeted advertisements through the company's Relevant Mobile Advertising (RMA) and Verizon Selects program.

As explained on Verizon's website, "for RMA, Verizon creates groups of customers for advertisers to reach based on demographic and interest-based information provided to us by other companies. We then relay anonymous information about these groups to our ad partners to enable them to serve relevant ads. If a customer has opted in to Verizon Selects, we will create groups of customers using additional information we have about customers' location, Web browsing and app usage."

There was previously no way to delete the so-called "supercookie" tracking code from your device. Verizon has confirmed, however, that it will now be disabled when you opt out of the company's RMA program. This can be done by calling 1-866-211-0874, or by heading to the privacy settings on Verizon's website or in the My Verizon mobile app.