Monday, November 10, 2014

Supercookies used by Verizon, AT&T to track Internet activity of their customers

Supercookies used by Verizon, AT&T to track Internet activity of their customers

While the dizzying extent of government surveillance is disturbing enough to make your head spin, private companies are also doing their best to demolish every last shred of Internet privacy. Verizon has been covertly tracking Internet activities of its 106 million customers with aptly-dubbed “supercookies.” AT&T is in process of actively testing this technology. Unlike the usual “cookies,” these trackers are so powerful that even savvy users would have trouble attempting to erase them.

“Supercookies” cannot be evaded by using “in-private” or “incognito” browser settings. Only encryption can keep a “supercookie” from tracking a user. While everyday consumers had no say in how their activities are being tracked and recorded, Verizon excluded all government and some business customers from the program.

Verizon and AT&T are using the “supercookie” technology to monitor the websites visited by their customers, meticulously collecting this information. The companies claim to have taken steps to alert their customers about this tracking. However, sending out multi-page notices in fine print, also known as "mouseprint," is a move designed to protect corporations from potential litigation — it isn’t meant to notify surveillance-weary consumers.