Verizon refuses to stop unkillable tracking cookies

Verizon stated publicly that will implement soon a feature that provides to users the possibility to choose out of so-called supercookies that couldn`t be erased and followed them anywhere. Verizon has been frequently and fervently criticized for inserting headers into user traffic that third parties, also containing the ad network Turn, had been plainly marketing and monetizing. It remains uncertain if Verizon`s settings will really disable the supercookie.

Below we will talk about this supercookie and how the removal tools do not work as advertised.

When news appeared last year and stated the fact that Verizon had launched unremovable supercookies that are able to track its devices anywhere online, the company denied it and announced that this information will not be revealed to third parties and will not compromise web privacy. New information has obviously pointed out that those statements were false and Verizon actively linked with third parties in order to allow this tracking.

This ad services work like this: you visit a page from a Verizon device and it will automatically add that header into your URL, which will be linked with a regular cookie that is part of standard cookie tracking. Deleting it is not an option because after removing it the system reinstates it with the Verizon header. This is one of the reasons why is called a zombie cookie.

The advertiser cannot know which John Doe uses the UID=123456789, but the advertising network can follow everywhere that John Doe goes, can see each website he visits and every page he clicks on. If the cookie is deleted, it is immediately reestablished and reassociated with your profile. The collateral damage is obviously significant. As an example, laptops fastened to cell phones on Verizon`s network, can be affected by this process. The company that provides these networks for Verizon is called Turn. It may sound unknown, but it probably knows all about Verizon`s users.

The partners of Verizon`s advertising project

Turn is the most public user of this technology that signed a partnership with Verizon. The company stated that the purpose is to obtain that unified cross-platform media by offering to campaigns the possibility to target consumers on any device they are using. Various reports state the fact that Turn has auctions whenever someone visits a website. It sells the right to target you with ads within milliseconds of you entering that site. Turn stated the fact that if someone deletes a cookie, does not necessary mean that it does not want to stop the following process. The company offers an opt-out option but further testing revealed the fact that it does not actually work. Turn came back with another statement, which says that the purpose of the opt-out process is to seem it does not work.

All of these practices by Turn cannot make it possible to stop the company from gathering data from anyone. A Verizon header does not allow you to hide any work you are doing and cannot stop the company from collecting and reconstructing your data and unique profile.