This, Too, Is Why People Occupy Wall Street

CNN Money—Your phone company is selling your personal data:
Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.

In mid-October, Verizon Wireless changed its privacy policy to allow the company to record customers' location data and Web browsing history, combine it with other personal information like age and gender, aggregate it with millions of other customers' data, and sell it on an anonymized basis.

That kind of data could be very useful -- and lucrative -- to third-party companies. For instance, if a small business owner wanted to figure out the best place to open a new pet store, the owner could buy a marketing report from Verizon about a designated area. The report might reveal which city blocks get the most foot or car traffic from people whose Web browsing history reveals that they own pets.

Verizon is the first mobile provider to publicly confirm that it is actually selling information gleaned from its customers directly to businesses. But it's hardly alone in using data about its subscribers to make extra cash.

All four national carriers use aggregated customer information to help outside parties target ads to their subscribers. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile insist that subscriber data is never actually handed over to third-party vendors; nevertheless, they all make money on it.

...For its part, Verizon has largely been applauded by privacy groups for at least being transparent about what it's doing and pointing users to an opt-out site if they don't wish to participate. But privacy advocates are concerned about the direction wireless companies are headed.
It's funny how conservatives have always justified their support of privatization by saying the government cannot be trusted to retain too much information on its citizens, because we'll end up never having any privacy and never being truly free. But now that corporations are doing the very thing conservatives were always ostensibly afraid the government would do, they're eerily silent on the matter.

It's almost like all that privacy and freedom stuff is just mendacious rhetoric designed to mask their unfettered avarice and love of profit at all costs. Huh.

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