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Verizon's latest rewards program shares gobs of your data (updated)

You'll want to know what you're getting into before you sign up.
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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Verizon has just fired up a new rewards program, but you might want to hold off if you're concerned about your privacy. Brandon Robbins and other customers have noticed that enlisting in Up requires enrolling in a Verizon Selects personalized advertising program that tracks an extensive range of voluntary and automatic data: it'll supply your app use, browsing habits, device location and personal demographics, among other details. Moreover, it shares that data with a wide circle of companies. Your info go to the newly formed AOL/Yahoo hybrid Oath (Engadget's parent brand) as well as Verizon's "vendors and partners."

These requirements aren't strictly new -- a previous Smart Rewards program also asked you to sign up for Selects and hand over your personal data. It indicates that Verizon hasn't scaled back its data collection, though, and this wouldn't be much comfort if you found out what you were sharing only after it was too late.

We've asked Verizon for its take on the concerns and will let you know what it says. Whatever the response, though, this doesn't help Verizon's reputation for pervasive ad tracking. While it's important to stress that this is opt-in rather than opt-out, it's not going to make you happy if you'd rather not hand over that much sensitive material just to get some perks.

Update: Verizon reiterates to us that it's a voluntary program, and that you can back out whenever you like. Don't expect it to reduce the amount of data it gathers under the Selects program, then. You can read the full statement below.

"We give our customers choice and control. They have the choice to opt in and participate in the program, and if they do choose to participate, they have the choice to opt out at any time."

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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