I’m starting to get pretty pissed at everyone who wants to sell my information.
Today, I went onto the Verizon site to update some of my info, and when I logged in, a screen popped up offering some sort of rewards program that would be similar to the credit card system that gives me points for using my card – and, in this case, using my phone. It listed all of the amazing benefits of this program, and me, naive enough to believe that Verizon was just trying to reward me for being a loyal customer for nearly ten years, I clicked through all of the “I want to know more” buttons. I read everything and thought it was a delightful offer.
Then, I went to agree to the terms, and there were two buttons I needed to click – one for the terms of using whatever points I accrue, and another, more insidious box for clicking.
You see, I’m one of the few people left on this planet who at least skims all of that crap. I want to know what I’m agreeing to… and it’s a good thing, because Verizon was only going to let me into the rewards program if I also joined something else too. Here’s word-for-word what the website told me (Bolds/emphasis mine):
By joining Verizon Smart Rewards, you also become part of Verizon Selects. You get an extra 2,500 bonus points immediately and another 500 points every month with Verizon Selects. Verizon Selects personalizes the content and marketing you may receive from Verizon and other selected companies.
To continue, please review the Verizon Smart Rewards and Verizon Selects terms and conditions below and select “I Agree” to both.
Really, Verizon? Really?
Did you notice how they snuck the important stuff in there after they told us about all of the thousands of points they’re going to give us? Did you notice how they used connotation against us? They’re going to “personalize” things for us… who doesn’t want things personalized?
Then, I read the terms and conditions and this is another word-for-word quote from the site (emphasis still mine):
To provide you ads and content from Verizon and others that may be more relevant to you, we would like to use information (like your devices and equipment, the features and apps you use, the websites you visit, and your location), interests (like shopping preferences), demographics (like age range), and information about the quantity about the quantity, type, destination, location, and amount of use of your Verizon voice services ( known as CPNI)
Your CPNI may be shared among Verizon companies.”
I didn’t bold that part at the end, but it sure sounds like Verizon wants to keep track of where I am on the planet at all times. “Location” pretty much means they want to track my every movement.
Hasn’t anyone read 1984?! What about Enemy of the State?!
Okay, so I’m more paranoid than Average Jane, but I honestly don’t get why we are so okay with selling our info. Even when I calm myself into the moderate version of myself, I have to ask why we’re okay with ANYONE knowing where we are on the planet at all times? I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone who needs that info (spouses included), much less any faceless company that’s clearly only interested in my activities because they want the cash. If I don’t want my friends and family knowing when I’m in the bathroom, I definitely don’t want Verizon Wireless even knowing which part of town I’m in.
Next, Verizon asked me to take a survey about my experience on the website. I gave them fairly low ratings, and then let loose in that last box that asks for anything else I have to say.
In that box, I told Verizon that it’s deceptive and manipulative to embed that crap into the page no one ever reads. It’s also disappointing that Verizon so underestimates me as to believe I wasn’t going to notice they were trying to sell my info. It’s messed up that they’d rather reward laziness and apathy than loyalty in its customers. I have been a loyal customer, but don’t believe I should have to let anyone annoy the hell out of me with pictures of running sandals or the newest video game in order to earn an invented currency called “points.” I’ll find my own running sandals, thank you very much!