Joho the Blog » Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing

Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing

A small legalistic pamphlet from Verizon arrived today telling me that I have 45 days to opt out of “agreeing” to let Verizon share Customer Proprietary Network Information, i.e., “information created by virtue of your relationship with Verizon Wireless,” including “services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive,” billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with “affiliates, agents and parent companies.” It will definitely not be shared with “unrelated third parties” … unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck “affiliate ” means.

To opt out you can call 1-800-333-9956. Or you can follow the instructions in the mailing to go to verizonwireless.com and log into My Verizon where you will find no mention, no button, no link and no help. Ah, but you forgot to check your Messages. There you will indeed find a link to CPNI. The link is marked “Not available.” Dead end.

You could then call Verizon’s excellent telephone support. (Nope, I’m not being sarcastic.) They won’t be able to find the opt out button either. But during the 8 minutes the rep puts you on hold, you’ll be amused to hear one of their continuous bits of self-promotion tell you that Verizon never shares your personal information. Oh, what a wry sense of humor Verizon has!

When you escalate the call, you will finally be told to click on the My Profile tab in My Verizon, then click on Phone Controls, and there you will conveniently find the link. It’s just that simple!

The whole thing sucks :( [Tags: ]

 


[March 10:] Verizon responds in its blog. GigaOm responds more broadly to that response. And I still say that the if you’re going to make the mistake of opting us in to sharing private info, then you have an ethical obligation to make it damn clear to us that you’re doing so, and making it a damn site easier for us to opt out.

 


[March 11:] Al Gidari, Jr. of Perkins Cole is giving a talk at the Berkman Center about the privacy of mobile-based info. I asked him about CPNI. Here are my notes on what he said:

The kerfuffle was an example of bad journalism. The article expressed it badly. The info you are opted in to giving can be used only within the family of companies for marketing purposes. For sharing outside, it requires explicit opt-in. And CPNI has a higher standard for location info, which does not get shared. An “affiliate” is an entity you own or control. Verizon is incorporated in separate states, so they’re trying to share the info among that family of corporations.

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214 Responses to “Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing”

  1. Is there a similar opt-out in the new FIOS I had installed? I don’t use Verizon for wireless anymore. I use AT&T, which I am sure, would not do anything like this (I AM being sarcastic-if you could only hear my tone and see my expression, the area lacking in internet communication).

  2. Haven’t received any legalese from them yet. After seeing your post, I immediately followed your instructions and disabled sharing any “CPNI” information.

    Even with your instructions, I had to check the ‘Profile’ tab three times because that link doesn’t stand out at all.

    Your effort is much appreciated. :)

  3. Thank you so much for this information via @rww. Verizon is such a shady company that I can’t even take their BS. Cheers for the information. Just opted out. . . Thanks so much!

  4. When I got to the CPNI page in My Profile it was already checked “Yes” for my number. I changed that. Many thanks!

  5. Thanks for this. Gotta find the fine print in my banking and credit accounts.

  6. […] This information includes “services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with ‘affiliates, agents and parent companies.’ It will definitely not be shared with ‘unrelated third parties’ … unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck ‘affiliate’ means,” Wienberger wrote. […]

  7. […] This information includes “services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with ‘affiliates, agents and parent companies.’ It will definitely not be shared with ‘unrelated third parties’ … unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck ‘affiliate’ means,” Wienberger wrote. […]

  8. I long ago opted out, as soon as I received the notice. But today, when I returned to the Verizon site, I found that the cell number associated with my laptop’s EVDO service was still opted in! Evidently, to Verizon, no doesn’t mean no. In general, I find Verizon’s service and customer support good, but this shows it’s important to keep a sharp eye on any commercial service you do business with.

  9. […] This information includes “services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with ‘affiliates, agents and parent companies.’ It will definitely not be shared with ‘unrelated third parties’ … unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck ‘affiliate’ means,” Wienberger wrote. […]

  10. […] Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing […]

  11. Thanks for the heads-up. Shouldn’t the government be doing this? Too busy pulling double shifts shoveling $$ down AIG’s maw I suspect.

  12. Thank you so much for posting this. When I got to the spot where you check yes or no, mine too was already checked “yes”.

  13. […] Harvard University, is probably less likely to do that than all of us, and he found, embedded in a pamphlet full of legalese he received from Verizon, that he has only 45 days to opt out of […]

  14. There is no “Phone Controls” link on the My Profiles page of the Verizon website. Can anyone provide further information? I have checked virtually every link on the page. Under FAQ, on the left, is a reference to Protecting my Privacy – which is “currently unavailable”. Please reply to this page.

    Thanks.

  15. Sorry – I see the reference is to wireless accounts. Ours are landline. Thanks.

  16. Nice article, David! Also, the Read Write Web article linking to this just made the front page of Digg, so big audience!

  17. Thank you.
    Similar to the experience of at least one other respondent, even with your excellent instructions, I had difficulty finding the link. I’ll probably move to CREDO faster.

  18. Thanks so much for this… I just opted out and I hope everyone else does…

    Well done.

  19. I just called the 800 #, it was pretty quick. Thanks for the info.

  20. […] Harvard University, is probably less likely to do that than all of us, and he found, embedded in a pamphlet full of legalese he received from Verizon, that he has only 45 days to opt out of […]

  21. […] party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck ‘affiliate’ means,” Wienberger wrote. While getting this in the mail is great, what about those people who only receive electronic […]

  22. Used the 800 number after getting a link to your article from NY Tiimes. I’m an ebill customer and, sure enough, there was no online mention of anything. Thanks for your diligence and advice.

  23. […] This information includes “services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with ‘affiliates, agents and parent companies.’ It will definitely not be shared with ‘unrelated third parties’ … unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck ‘affiliate’ means,” Wienberger wrote. […]

  24. Does the wording indicate whether they’re going to treat the personal info held by their subsidiaries in the same way? Verizon owns MCI (in Canada) and we haven’t had any notice yet.

  25. Oh, everyone must be trying to check the “no” box. I keep getting the “can’t process your request at this time” message. Just one more reason to NOT renew with Verizon when my contract is up.

    Thanks for the funny post.

  26. […] we discuss Sears Holding Company — rarely does one ever see a case quite as egregious as what David Weinberger describes about Verizon. Not only is the opt-out barely whispered, it is almost impossible to find and to make functional, […]

  27. Thanks! You just saved me a bunch of time calling an account rep. I don’t recall getting that disclosure so I am glad someone sent me a link to your blog :)

  28. […] David Weinberger and Read Write Web scald Verizon for this awful situation, and Weinberger figured out a direct link to the opt-out page. […]

  29. Did it. Tweeted it. Many thanks.

  30. I have gotten nothing in the mail about this, no information from Verizon.

    Thank you very much for the info. I’ve now opted out.

  31. I just tried the link, no luck. Tried the number and got a message that the CPNI system was “unavailable at this time.”

  32. […] Harvard University, is probably less likely to do that than all of us, and he found, embedded in a pamphlet full of legalese he received from Verizon, that he has only 45 days to opt out of “agreeing” to let […]

  33. Verizon has already changed their web site so you cannot get to this any longer.

  34. Wow! Thank you for going through all the pains so that we don’t have to. I went through the steps and sure enough no message and no way for me to find it on my own, and also sure enough I had everything checked to share my information. Thanks!

  35. Thanks for the heads up! Am plannig to get a cell—sure won’t get Verizon!

    Do you know anything about the free “SafeLinkWireless” being advertised on tv?

  36. The 800 number only works at certain times of the day. Keep calling back. When it is active it works nicely.

  37. I found a place on VZW.com to change my Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) mentioned in the NY Times article. It was located under My Profile then (oddly) in a section of that page with heading, Phone Controls, where there is a link to change the CPNI:
    “Your privacy is important to us. You have ability to change your privacy(CPNI) Settings.” “View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings”.

    After clicking on the View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings link I changed my settings from “OK to Share My CPNI” to “Don’t Share My CPNI”

    Ken

  38. Thank you for this! I had no idea.

  39. […] share your information with just about anyone they want. Apparently some customers are receiving a notice via mail but for some reason I did not and others haven’t received one either. Verizon is clearly […]

  40. There’s some background on issue from Verizon Wireless on Verizon’s Policyblog. (see name for link) .

    I’ve pushed this on Twitter (@CZ) as well.

    “VZW CPNI policy (re)explained. Nothing new happening, but see Policyblog to see full history: http://bit.ly/RJJxv

  41. The below option is not available to me.

    “I found a place on VZW.com to change my Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) mentioned in the NY Times article. It was located under My Profile then (oddly) in a section of that page with heading, Phone Controls, where there is a link to change the CPNI:
    “Your privacy is important to us. You have ability to change your privacy(CPNI) Settings.” “View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings”.

    After clicking on the View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings link I changed my settings from “OK to Share My CPNI” to “Don’t Share My CPNI””

  42. I attempted to respond to the VZW blog post but since it’s “moderated and my comment may not appear” I will post it here for everyone. This is in response to VZWs claim that they will not sell your information outside of Verizon affiliates which was linked to here: http://bit.ly/RJJxv

    ——————

    This may be, but there are is nothing in what you state that is a clear definition of what your affiliates do with that information.

    VZW may not sell their customers information but Verizon might if they are unable to bundle a VZW customer. Since that failed attempt makes that person not a customer of Verizon, they are free to do what they want with the information.

    This is in full compliance with the VZW privacy policy because it’s not VZW that’s selling the information, it’s Verizon (or whatever other affiliate possesses VZW customer information).
    —————

  43. […] sure you follow the instructions to opt out. It’s bad enough that there are rogue companies which circumvent telemarketing laws. Now it […]

  44. Thanks a lot, I never would have found this otherwise.

  45. […] Stacey Higginbotham | Monday, March 9, 2009 | 10:11 AM PT | 0 comments It emerged over the weekend that Verizon Wireless was trying to share your cell phone data with “affiliates, agents and parent companies.” David Weinberger read the fine print on a recent 45-page Verizon mailing to discover that tidbit, and posted a really clear set of instructions to opt out. […]

  46. […] Related to their wackiness, “A small legalistic pamphlet from Verizon arrived today telling me that I have 45 days to opt out of “agreeing” to let Verizon share Customer Proprietary Network Information…” Read more  […]

  47. thankx so much for that! i just fixed it and am telling everyone i know about it too.

    ridiculous~~~!!!

  48. […] Harvard University, is probably less likely to do that than all of us, and he found, embedded in a pamphlet full of legalese he received from Verizon, that he has only 45 days to opt out of […]

  49. I checked the site and opted out of all 5 phones. I appreciate the WMexperts site letting us know about this situation. Good article referenced by them to call and opt out of this situation.
    Again, thanks to all.
    Edward

  50. Do NOT share my info with anyone.

  51. I learned from enraging experience that Verizon has actual helpful techies you can talk to 24/7 IF you have their number. For the rest of us it’s hopeless trying to get help on the phone.

    Some kind of mass action would be appropriate — try Googling “Verizon sucks” and you’ll find how widespread are the legions that have been turned away by their non-service.

  52. Wow, when I went to the link and changed the radio buttons, I got this error when I clicked ‘submit':

    “In order to process your request, the settings must be different from the existing ones.”

    Of course, there was no [logical] way to change the settings, or any mention of what settings were supposed to be changed! Luckily, the 800 number worked for me instead.

  53. […] parent companies.” The discussion began when author and consumer advocate David Weinberger blogged about the memo he received with his latest bill, and highlighted that the opt-out process is a lot […]

  54. […] followed up with Weinberger and told him to follow this protocol: Go to go the My Profile tab in the My Verizon account, then […]

  55. […] parent companies.” The discussion began when author and consumer advocate David Weinberger blogged about the memo he received with his latest bill, and highlighted that the opt-out process is a lot […]

  56. Thanks a mil for the timely information, immediately went to Verizon’s website and opted out. You saved me a ton of time. I will share info with all my verizon contacts.

  57. I got the pamphlet, read it, went online and found the opt out in just a few seconds. Relatively painless. I was just reading about how so many had difficulty with this. WOW.

  58. I’m on verizon pre-paid and it says I’m not elegible to opt out. Is that legal????

  59. Thank you so much! Done and done! :)

  60. Thank you so much for this info as I didn’t have the CPNI link and could only receive it by clicking on ur post!

    U rock mate! I totally appreciate your efforts to educate the public and warn others! These companies aren’t specific enough – it’s this top down processing that extends and destroys the user experience and privacy issues at the same time.

  61. THANK YOU! And congrats on the #6 most emailed article on NYTimes today (so far).

  62. Thank you! Your link to the hidden link was incredibly helpful

  63. This is illegal conduct that is sought to be made legal by agreement. The ninth circuit specifically did not allow the telco to do just this.

  64. Thank you!! Just opted out- and would’ve had no idea how to do so without your help.
    Thanks again-
    S

  65. You can also go to donotcall.gov and register for both land and mobile to stop all cold calling……..

    but you need to deal with Verizon seperately.

  66. I loved Verizon until this. We’re two hours into trying to stop them from selling our private information and still have no success. I don’t think Verizon shareholders and managers know what a few predators in suits are up to. It’s sad we’re going to leave Verizon forever over this. Will spend the whole day calling my congressional reps tomorrow. I think the SEC needs to get involved under the RICO Act. I think I’ll file a complain with them, too.

  67. Thank you, David. I’ve been following JOHO for many years, and am glad to see you getting the recognition you deserve. Called the 800 number, and it was a snap. Thanks again.

  68. THANK you for making this so simple to do!

  69. Done.

    Now if only there was a way to opt out of having my information GIVEN TO THE NSA.

  70. Oh those wacky kids at Verizon. But seriously, this kind of s–t makes my brain explode. Thank you for doing the work so we didn’t have to. BTW,your article appeared on the Huff Post feed this morning.

  71. I called the number to opt out my two cell phone numbers, but got cut off when I could not recall my billing password number, The FTC’s opt out process is much easier. Maybe Verizon should contract with the FTC “do not call” folks to manage their :”do not share” service. Verizon’s concern for my personal security and privacy is pure hypocrisy. I hope the FTC will convince Verizon that its customers right to privacy and freedom from unsolicited telephone marketing trumps the company’s need to share my information with its “affiliates”, Where are the public interest lawyers when we need them?

  72. Verizon has removed the opt-out option. Completely. Their current customer agreement states, under the ‘Privacy’ section: …WE MAY USE AND SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU AND HOW YOU USE ANY OF OUR SERVICES: … (C) SO WE OR OUR AFFILIATES IN THE VERIZON FAMILY OF COMPANIES CAN COMMUNICATE WITH YOU ABOUT GOODS OR SERVICES THAT ANY OF US OFFER.

    IN ADDITION, WE MAY INCLUDE OUR OWN OR THIRD–PARTY ADVERTISING IN THE SERVICES YOU PURCHASE FROM US, AND WE MAY COLLECT NON–PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU AND YOUR USE OF THOSE SERVICES. WE MAY SHARE THAT NON–PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION WITH OTHER VERIZON COMPANIES, VENDORS AND THIRD PARTIES TO PROVIDE RELEVANT ADVERTISING. IF YOU DO NOT WANT US TO COLLECT OR USE SUCH NON–PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION FOR THIS PURPOSE, YOU SHOULD NOT USE OUR SERVICES; BY USING THE SERVICES, YOU EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZE US TO USE YOUR INFORMATION FOR THIS PURPOSE.

    I guess they figure anyone who doesn’t like it can just piss off somwhere else…

  73. Thank you for sharing, Jess. I cannot “piss off somewhere else” because Verizon wireless is the only carrier with coverage that works in my neighborhood. Instead, I just completed and filed an internet complaint with the FCC. My complaint number is 09-C00102495. It was easy and took less that 5 minutes. I googled “FCC”, then followed their directions, finally ending at “Form 2000B – Billing, Privacy or Service Quality”. I referenced the internet address for this blog by copying it into the complaint form. This blog is terrific and puts the case more effectively than any individual consumer complaint. The FCC is the same federal agency that enforces the “do not call” list. That project worked very well, so maybe there is hope that Verizon will respond to the feds and end this unconscionable intrusion on our privacy. File your own complaint. If enough of us do this, Goliath will back off.

  74. Jess,

    I am in the same problem as Lowell and hate that!

    I do not think that verizon sharing our information with 3rd party folks is the appropriate thing to do at all…I can understand sharing our stuff with folks in the same company…even though I am opposed to bit…but they have made a change after all and I suppose I would be okay with accepting that except hearing that my information has to be shared with a 3rd party as well – i find that to be extremely disappointing with verizon. – the only thing that sucks about a company that’s so big is it’s bullying around. I am really happy to hear we have things like your blog and the nytimes to cover such issues.

  75. FYI, there is a notification on the VZ website. It’s under “Messages.” When you first log in, there’s a “Welcome. XXXXX Account!” Next to that is the “View Message Center” link – the notification is listed under that. Sneaky. Thanks for getting this in the NYTimes. :)

  76. Thanks a million for posting this — a real service.

  77. Oddly enough, my settings were already set to “Do not share my CPNI”… One less thing to worry about… for now (sarcasm intended). ;)

  78. Thanks for the heads up but perhaps the evil ones at Verizon have made their next move:

    when I went to change the settings, both option boxes were open.

    When I checked the box to opt out, I got an error message that said in order to submit, the information had to be different from what had already been submitted.

    Am I too suspicious or d’ya think I’m opted out now by default, given the current agreement, but I’m going to have to remember to go back and do this again after they’ve already had a shot at releasing my info on the day the change goes into effect?

  79. Thank you. Tried going in through the website and no joy. Used the opt out phone number and after giving phone number and billing zip was told “Sorry we need more information, please call customer service at 1800 922 0204″
    After less than 15 seconds was connected with a person and the opt out noted.
    Gerry H

  80. Thank you for the Verizon Opt Out info. I had no clue. until I read the NY Times article. I just opted out.

  81. This kind of privacy violation by the corporations that we, the public, are forced to trust with our personal data, is all too common and doesn’t get nearly enough attention in the press or in the courts. Thank you for sharing this information with so many hapless Verizon hostages, myself included.

  82. Call 1–800–333–9956, and follow the directions to opt-out.

  83. Thanks so much on providing this info and congrats on the popularity of the article.

  84. thank you, I just did this. I recently got 2 text messages from some porn site and trust me when I tell u I did not sign up for them.

  85. Thank you so much. I just did it today. I stick with Verizon b/c I don’t get the dropped calls like ATT, but I’m constantly getting mailing from them about charges they forgot to tell me about or charge me for, with the plan I bought over a year ago. the service folks tend to be very arrogant, some just plain ignorant. However, when i was with ATT, i got this type of service AND dropped calls. it’s like deciding between the lesser of two evils. i travel internationally, and other providers (t-mobile…) don’t have the coverage i need.

  86. Thank you thank you thank you thank you… :)

    And thank you the the NY Times for linking to your blog!

  87. Just tried to reach the verizonwireless.com website; must be overwhelmed: “VerizonWireless.com is temporarily unavailable”

  88. I also just tried to opt out, but by using the phone number and after being welcomed to the opt out phone number, they said it was temporarily unavailable.

    Sounds to me like they don’t want anyone opting out.

  89. Thank You. I had no idea until I read the NYTimes article.

  90. Thank you. FYI I went to My Verizon and found the link under My Profile, View/Edit Privacy(CPNI) Settings.

  91. Thank you for this information. Even with your clear instructions, I was unable to find the CPNI options online so I called and opted out. If not for your post, I never would have known about this.

  92. Maybe time to opt out of Verizon and switch to another service.

  93. Didn’t you hear/?

    The US Constituiton no begins with:

    We the corporations…

  94. Correction:

    Didn’t you hear?

    The US Constituiton now begins with:

    We the Corporations…

  95. Thanks to the Times and you, w/o whom I never would have found the Vz page and option.

  96. Just changed the settings. Interesting that Vz did not change my address
    to my current one despite calls about it. Service is good, but their policies are debatable. Thanks once again.

  97. Just found out about this! Thank you for posting the instructions, which made it easy to opt out.

  98. Thanks for the forewarning on this new “privacy policy” from Verizon Wireless. I have been on Verizon Wireless’ network since 2002 and am currently on a month-to-month (no more contracts for me!) and have no intentions of changing my plan. The only thing this “privacy policy” does is increase junk mail…if I’m interested in a service or product I’ll contact the respective company on my own and give them what information I deem necessary for them to provide services to me.

  99. […] you don’t have to take it. You can opt out. (Editor’s note: Users have reported intermittent problems accessing this […]

  100. I work for Verizon Wireless, and know a lot of people have pointed to media coverage of this issue over the past few days. The notice and the policy are not new. Verizon Wireless sent the original notice in October 2007, and we continue to send it to new customers as part of standard procedures. The blog link (http://policyblog.verizon.com and search on CPNI or Jim Gerace) above explains the issue further. Thanks… Debra Lewis, Verizon Wireless

  101. Thanks Clark for the heads up, I opted out today, What a slime ball thing to do to your customers. Privacy means nothing to these company’s as long as they can make a buck .

  102. Have been trying to get the site to accept my change to opt out for 30 minutes now–it keeps telling me to check back later!! Obviously Clark has caused their system some grief! I only hope so–what a crappy way to run a business. I will make sure ALL of my friends know about the opt out.

  103. I tried to “opt-out” at 8:00pm ET and it was easy as pie. Took about 30 seconds. Thanks for the warning, Clark

  104. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!
    I had no idea that Verizon was doing such creepy things with their terms of service! Thanks to Clark Howard and this site, I will tell all of my friends and family who have VZN to “opt out” as well.
    Talk about big brother looking over your shoulder, that’s a bunch of BS!!!

  105. You rock. Undoubtedly as a result of the attention you brought to this issue, when you call, in a couple of click, it gets you to the opt out prompt. This was NOT an accident.

    FWIW, the website, in contrast, has a Pay Us More Money for Controls theme. A fool and his money…

  106. Took forever to find the “opt out” link. They hid it well!

  107. What about those of us with Alltel – being switched over to Verizon? I entered my Alltel phone number and was told it could not be found.

  108. Not sure if anyone reading this is in the Northeast area but I just got a letter from FairPoint and they are doing exactly the same thing with CPNI.

    The wonderful thing is you can’t opt out online, you must call a number and “leave a message”. Total B.S. if you ask me.

  109. You may opt out by calling us at 1–800–333–9956 and following the recorded directions.

  110. My cell phone carrier is Alltel. Verizon just bought them out, so does this affect me? If so, how would I go about opting out? I called Alltel and they had no clue what I was talking about and said they would have to get with thier supervisor and would have to call me back. Still waiting on them to call me back.

  111. Thanks to Clark, again. I didn’t know about this until I heard his radio show. I just “opt out”.

  112. No Phone Control on My Profile page now.

  113. Thank you! I just read the NY Times article about this and followed the link to your instructions. Took about ten seconds to opt out.

  114. Link has been removed, I guess… I can’t find it in My Profile
    not under Phone Support eiher

    How did you do it #113 ???

    Any help would be appreciated

    Too band the Constitution did not have a Right To Privacy
    Perhaps its time for a New Amendment

  115. Folks
    What you need to know is the CPNI is a FCC mandate for all carriers. The carriers DO NOT HAVE a choice relative to CPNI. Below is an example from ATT.

    “Before using CPNI information to proactively sell an FCC mandated CPNI product, CPNI consent must be obtained using mandatory verbiage. ”

    “The FCC Mandated CPNI products are:
    AT&T High Speed Internet or Dial
    AT&T | Dish Network
    Wireless from AT&T
    Home Networking Products
    This list cannot be deviated from or altered in any way. “

  116. Disgusted by this tactic – i am opting out of verizon entirely – will go to time warner triple play and change cell phone to T-mobile. Not that TW will be any better, but once in a while its nice to act on outrage.

  117. […] Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizons open-ended sharing […]

  118. I just clicked on your LINK and went directly to the Verizon CPNI site, signed in and opted out. Thank you so much for writing about this and getting the link.

  119. I have been a happy Verizon user for years. I am however, absolutely disgusted with this thinly veiled attempt to obfuscate. Thia may be a short term gain for Verizon…;.but like AIG’s bonuses….it will prove to be a massive long term loss,

  120. Thanks!
    Very easy with your pointer to the link.
    -gil

  121. I cannot figure this out. When I go to the link, it says “Account Owner Features: Then a ‘continure’ button. When I goto the profile, phone controls…It says:”There are no services available. A location service must be downloaded on the handset to be listed here.” Does this mean I am already opted out?
    If I click update profile, it goes to a log in page???? What to do? Thanks

  122. “I cannot figure this out. ”

    That is because Verizon has done everything it can to make it extremely difficult to change your option…while still falling within the legal code.

  123. THANK YOU! We had no idea! When I logged in to our account, I couldn’t find a link to CPNI and I couldn’t find phone controls. Just for the heck of it, I clicked on your “link” link, and voila, since I was currently logged in to Verizon (I think) it came up with the CPNI screen with our account number on it. Weird. I opted out, and it claimed to have accepted the action.

    Anyhow, here’s another Customer Service inanity. We’re within about 3 months of the end of our two year contract, so while I was in the Message Center, I decided to look up info in the New Every Two program and the 2-year Service Agreement. Take a guess what’s marked “Not Available”! Clicking on those links brought up the helpful information that “Your [xxx] is available to view online if executed within the last 6 months. For information or to request documents older than 6 months, please contact Customer Service at 800.922.0204″. Gee, now that’s the thing I’d want to look up during the first six months of my contract, isn’t it???

  124. There is no opt out for prepay accounts…

  125. David, do you think you’ve struck a nerve?

  126. Thanks for your hard work!! I have opted-out as well!!

  127. I never set up an on-line “My Verizon” profile with Verizon because I didn’t trust them to begin with. Is there a way to opt-out using SNAIL MAIL vs. the on-line link?
    Thanks!

  128. I was always happy with Verizon until now. Thanks for your help in getting me opted-out.

  129. Great blog! Just removed all five lines of my Family Share plan via the phone number. Thanks for the heads-up.

  130. Just followed your instructions and did it online. Thanks so much!

  131. DANGEROUS SITUATION VERIZON HAS CRAFTED.

    THE PHONE CALLS — PARTICULARLY THOSE COVERED BY STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS — ON PRIVILEGE AND CONFIDENCES OF COUNSEL AND THEIR COMMUNICATIONS; FINANCIAL TRANSACTION AND CREDIT, STATE INSURANCE [PROPERTY & CASUALTY FOR EXAMPLE] LAW; HIPPA REGULATIONS AND RELATED ISSUES…

    ALL THESE LAWS & REGULATIONS WILL NOW BE COMPROMISED AS VERIZON CUSTOMERS [PRESENT -AND- PAST] WILL HAVE THE IDENTITY OF THOSE WITH WHOM THEY COMMUNICATED, AND WHEN, CONVEYED TO OTHERS.

    THIS IS A SERIOUS DEFECT IN THIS POLICY.

    SECOND…THERE IS NO MEANS TO OPT OUT FOR THOSE CUSTOMERS WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE NOW “CLOSED” [EG, THE NUMBER IS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER CARRIER]. THIS MEANS THAT THERE DATA WILL EFFECTIVELY BE AUTOMATICALLY AVAILABLE TO OTHERS

  132. Profit over trust – not your best bet for the long term, but oh-so-tempting in the short term. How much is your name/address/phone/purchasing info worth? About 10-12 cents every time it’s “rented” for a single use. Pure gravy. And if you have 100 million subscribers (that have not opted out), that’s $10M every time you rent your list. Thanks for the link – I think I have given Verizon enough margin already.

    When we started our magazine for preschoolers, we decided to “just say no” to selling, renting or sharing any data – no exceptions. http://www.tessyandtab.com/htmls/privacy.htm. We manage all customer care in house to further protect privacy. Our customer referral rates are three times the industry average. We believe subscriber trust has significant positive impact on our business. Yes we miss the “low hanging fruit” of renting our list. I guess we are just not that hungry!

  133. Thank you! Terrible Verizon policy.

  134. Thank you–this was very helpful!

  135. I came to this blog posting via the NY Times article. Thank you so much for sharing this information! I haven’t received anything from Verizon about the CPNI; now thanks to your instructions, I don’t have to worry about it.

  136. On the phone w/ verizon opting out now. Unfortunately they are the only cell provider in our area or we would probably be with someone else. The dude on customer service is trying to tell me it will take 4 to 6 weeks for me to be opted out. I’m like I don’t THINK so, so he’s put me on hold to double check with someone (supervisor I guess). Will update on what happens.

  137. Thank you for the link to the correct spot on our verizon account website! I used that and opted out no problem. Never received a mailing or email about this.

  138. Finally got it straightened out. There is no 4-6 week wait. Opt-out is immediate. Took long enough; boy was I mad by the time I was done!

  139. I stumbled on this information while reading a NY Times article which directed me to this site for information. Thank you VERY MUCH for putting this online. I NEVER would have known about this as I usually pay my Verizon bill online and didn’t even notice that there was a message center let alone read any of it.

    Thanks again.

  140. Luckily I am NOT a Verizon customer. (Verizon ruined my credit history by charging for a phone installation service that they DID NOT provide. Countless phone calls to customer service proved futile, and so did writing to government authorities. I have cancelled my Wireless, Land-line, Internet, and TV accounts for both personal and Business accounts. I would say they pay about $500/month for the lousy $74 installation fee they charged.)

  141. I followed your instructions, found the place to opt out of CPNI, and when I click on it I get the following message: “In order to opt out the settings must be different from the existing ones.”
    Would really like to know what these settings are.

  142. A true gentleman and scholar for posting this info. Accidently happened upon this surfing the web, and also checked my Verizon account. Sure enough, I had no idea this was an option. No notice whatsoever. Thanks fro the heads up.

  143. M Smith, that’s the error message you get when you don’t click on any on the options on the page to change them. Change an option and it will let you save your changes.

  144. Very much appreciated! My phones are now opted out. I hope that actually makes a difference in them acquiring and sharing the data.

  145. […] this post tells you how to make sure they aren’t sharing your information. If they aren’t going […]

  146. In re: Recollections on a “kerfuffle”

    Not certain who quoted Mr. Gidari, an attorney for Verizon. Did he really refer to the wholesale sharing of customer information Verizon is required to protect as a mere “kerfuffle” and go on to suggest that poor Verizon was a victim of “bad journalism”?

    What could be cuter than a “kerfuffle”? I’ll wager a kerfuffle is small, soft, and gentle. You say they sound much like the Tribbles of Star Trek fame?

    You say you’re tired, stressed, and don’t know where or to whom to turn? Why ma’am, you need a kerfuffle. Listen to her purr. You feel better already, don’t you? Here, just sign here.

    Did Mr. Gidari really go on to make repeated references to customer “opt ins”? Odd, Verizon, in its Oct-15-07 response to the kerfuffle, tagged the notice it sent its customers as an “opt-out”, not once, but five times in a nine paragraph memo.

    The author of the memo also noted, “Customers who don’t want information [about all products and services that Verizon has to offer] can tell us so, by “opting out”.”

    I just opted-out. I was required to. Why? Verizon, that rascal, opted-in for me. Had Verizon sought my permission? What a kerfuffle! Why those boys are so busy. They can’t make the time to seek permission from 80 million subscribers. No, Verizon took the high road. It simply steamed forward, certain father knows best.

    My vicarious opt-in, the default choice for all Verizon’s customers, granted Verizon permission not to share information with me, but to share information about my cell phone usage with “affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries.”

    The opt-out, presumably drafted by or on behalf of Verizon, notes: “The Federal Communications Commission and other regulators require the Verizon Companies to protect your CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information).”

    Despite this requirement, Verizon gave itself permission to share information about the “quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location and amount of use” of the telecommunication services I purchase from Verizon.

    Make no mistake about it; this is all about “opting-out.” You’ve already been jammed in.

    I’m tempted to say, “Shame on you, Verizon.” Silly thought. We’ve all learned these past fifteen months that these boys have no shame.

    Thank you, David Weinberger.

  147. THANK YOU

  148. I followed the instructions in the NYT article and opted out. I have been following all the comments here and I want to say that here in San Diego, CA Verizon has really good customer service. It’s a short menu to get to a live person and once you do they will walk and talk you through any procedure on your cell phone. Very helpful.

  149. What is surprising about Verizon is that a few years ago, their service was quite good. Then it dived into the toilet. I kissed goodbye about a year ago.

    What happened? The story should be told as a warning to other companies.

  150. A quick note:

    YOU MAY USE A FREE WEBSITE http://www.jingproject.com to screen capture the process of doing this.

    This way you can show people exactly how to opt out rather than typing it.

  151. I was not able to make the process work online. However, I found the following on Verizon website by searching for CPNI.

    8.C CPNI Consent

    Company acknowledges that it has a duty, and Customer has a right, under federal and/or state law to protect the confidentiality of Customer’s CPNI. CPNI includes information relating to the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of the telecommunications services Customer purchases from Verizon, as well as related local and toll billing information, made available to Verizon solely by virtue of Customer’s relationship with Verizon. With Customer consent, Verizon may share Customer CPNI and other Confidential Information among its affiliates, including Verizon Wireless, and with agents and partners, so that all may use this information to offer Customer the full range of products and services offered by Verizon and its affiliates, including local, long distance, wireless, and Internet services (see http://www.verizon.com for a description of Verizon companies and services). By signing this Agreement, Customer consents to Verizon using and disclosing Customer CPNI and Confidential Information as described above. Customer may refuse CPNI consent by signing this Agreement and by notifying Verizon in writing at cpni-notices@verizonwireless.com and cpni-notices@verizonbusiness.com of Customer’s decision to withhold Customer’s consent. Customer’s consent or refusal to consent will remain valid until Customer otherwise advises Verizon, and in either case, will not affect Verizon’s provision of service to Customer.

  152. I just logged into Verizon, and the first screen I saw was a CPNI opt in/out choice screen. I opted out. But perhaps all these efforts and writing led to that. I hope others now find it that easy.

  153. Why should this important privacy decision be left up to the consumer to “Opt Out” leaving us responsible about our information being shared, whether we are informed or not? Why should companies have the right to share our information as a default once we are their customers and then for customers to search out for their options and other laws on the side of the company? Vermont -I think- is the only state that puts the onus on the company “to offer” customers to “opt in” to this type of information. This should be a National Law. Then maybe, just maybe quality service will come back to America’s companies. Remember the slogan, “we try harder.”

  154. Thanks for this information. I only found out about this because of a column written in the NY Times and the Times article referenced this blog. I only receive my billings electronically so I didn’t know about this. Recently a company contacted me to do a survey about some of my phone services and I wondered how they knew I had that particular service. Well I’ve opted out now! Thanks again.

  155. Thank you so much!
    My tale of woe with Verizon “customer service” is too long to go into. Seven pages of notes on legal paper (recorded over NINE MONTHS) document my attempt to convince them that FIOS was not available on my street – no matter what their records indicated. Finally I actually started to hyperventilate while on hold waiting to talk to someone. That’s when I switched to Comcast.

    I’ve kept Verizon wireless, despite bizarre billing snafus because the system works. If there is one more strange bill then I plan to switch in the summer – I’m a teacher and will have more time and patience at that time to deal with the inevitable screw-up that will occur if I try to change wireless carriers.

  156. What happened to consumer protection? This is so typical of the insanity of what the poor consumer has to be aware of multiplied by the many different entities we are all connected to. Hopefully, if enough of us say enough is enough and contact our representatives for legislation, we could have the corporations required to obtain consent for us opt in.

  157. Thank you…I opted OUT

  158. Hey — thank you for your work on this — so many peope really appreciate it—I discovered it just today from the New York Times.

    I’ve grown increasingly unhappy with Verizon Wireless and their responsibility-free contractors (the guys who sell you the phones) – pretty sure I’m going to switch when the contract’s up next month.

    Cheers

  159. I made a screenshot of where the link is, for anyone who’s having trouble finding it

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v282/ladyjara/verizonscreenshot.jpg

  160. On March 30, it took me less than 10 seconds to opt out. In a second browser window, I logged into my VZW account. I went back to this article and clicked on the live link in the next-to-last paragraph (“…you will conveniently find the link…”). That took me directly to the required page, one click, done… thank you very much. I’ve passed this info on to others. For me, cell signal coverage is the name of the game and I still haven’t found anything better. For those having problems in the stores, I find more knowledgeable reps on the phone. Hope this helps.

  161. My Profile already had “Yes” checked. I changed that straight away. Thanks!

  162. I really appreciate this important information. I had no idea because I receive electronic billing. VZW makes many billing errors, offers lousy customer service, the phones are cheaply made (had 3 that cracked!). I am very disappointed with them due to many hours of frustration trying to resolve various problems, while encountering rude and incompetent retail and phone representatives.

  163. Thanks for the lowdown. Verizon is pretty sneaky.

  164. Thanks for this!!!

  165. I just ported my Verizon land line home phone number to a prepaid cell plan. It’s a lot cheaper, no more Verizon for me.

  166. Read post.
    Followed instructions.
    Opted out.
    Thank YOU!

  167. I want to thank you, too. I’m a Verizon customer with electronic billing, and I wouldn’t have known about this without your effort.

  168. Thank you so much! I found your post through an article in NYTimes. I had not been aware of this, and sure enough, when I checked it out – I had to switch to ‘don’t share my information.’ This is the last straw for me with Verizon – I was barely able to tolerate their terrible service, but this goes to far! I’m switching as soon as I figure out which cell phone company sucks the least.

  169. Ditto Susans remarks
    Thanks

  170. Thank you so much for letting me know about this! I never would have been aware of it without your article. I appreciate all you’ve done to help me opt out.

  171. David,

    Any leads on Verizon INpulse (pre-paid)? I went to Phone Controls tab in MyVerizon and there is no such info about the CPNI. : (

    Thx!

  172. Made call to the 800 number…entered cell phone #
    and was informed that as a pre-paid Verizon account
    I was NOT elegible for CPNI.

  173. David, re the INpulse problem, or alternative ways of opting out….

    I don’t know if this’ll do it, but I searched the Verizon site and found this doc, which seems to have other ways of opting out — although it uses that suspect “and” formulation, which could be read as though you have to jump through all of these hoops, not just one of them.

    http://www.verizonbusiness.com/external/service_guide/reg/g_general_terms_and_conditions.htm

    CPNI Consent

    Company acknowledges that it has a duty, and Customer has a right, under federal and/or state law to protect the confidentiality of Customer’s CPNI. CPNI includes information relating to the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of the telecommunications services Customer purchases from Verizon, as well as related local and toll billing information, made available to Verizon solely by virtue of Customer’s relationship with Verizon. With Customer consent, Verizon may share Customer CPNI and other Confidential Information among its affiliates, including Verizon Wireless, and with agents and partners, so that all may use this information to offer Customer the full range of products and services offered by Verizon and its affiliates, including local, long distance, wireless, and Internet services (see http://www.verizon.com for a description of Verizon companies and services). By signing this Agreement, Customer consents to Verizon using and disclosing Customer CPNI and Confidential Information as described above. Customer may refuse CPNI consent by signing this Agreement and by notifying Verizon in writing at cpni-notices@verizonwireless.com and cpni-notices@verizonbusiness.com of Customer’s decision to withhold Customer’s consent. Customer’s consent or refusal to consent will remain valid until Customer otherwise advises Verizon, and in either case, will not affect Verizon’s provision of service to Customer.

  174. I have 2 Verizon Wireless phone lines and a V-Card for wireless internet access on my laptop. Since V-Cards are assigned an actual phone number, the forced opt-out *INCLUDES YOUR V-CARD WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE* too (I noticed my V-Card number on the list when I just opted out). I suspect this consists of different (and much broader) technical info, affiliates, etc. than is involved with phone service. And BTW – maybe I’m an outlier, but I’ve experienced nothing but great service & customer service from Verizon here in Boston and when I’ve traveled.

  175. […] to share their personal information, according to the New York Times and Harvard Law professor David Weinberger. This personal information includes specific calls you make and receive as well as billing and […]

  176. https://wbillpay.verizonwireless.com/vzw/accountholder/profile/CPNISettings.action

  177. Thank you. I just opted out too. I can’t believe they are so shady. I didn’t receive any notification in the mail or email at all.

  178. Thank you very much for posting this and sharing it with the New York Times! I hope your ISP doesn’t give you grief over all the extra bandwidth.

  179. Thank you very much for this. I did just call the 800.333.9956 number and it was simple. It also allowed me to opt out of my other numbers later in the call.

    Very slimy of Verizon. It’s going to take all of us working together to keep them honest.

  180. Just checked my CPNI because of this article. Turns out the settings were defaulted to “Don’t Share”, but it was good to check. Thx.

  181. Thank You!
    I called 800-333-9956 & opted out.
    Jeff

  182. You rock/

  183. In the last few years uSA has become a country that trumpets “freedom” and in reality gives no freedom to its common citizens, i.e. privacy. Everything is controlled, what we buy, who we speak with, what we put in our mouth, how we drive, and what we do with our kids…. everything. JEEZ.

  184. Verizon has a policy blog with an entry that states, essentially, that they do not sell information to advertisers. The information is used by the Verizon family of companies only. The blog posting is the link below, and following it is a comment I made two days ago. The comment hasn’t been approved yet, so I’m posting it here.
    Verizon policy blog:
    http://policyblog.verizon.com/PolicyBlog/Blogs/policyblog/JimGerace9/590/VerizonWirelessCommentonCPNI2009.aspx

    My response:
    On your word, I appreciate and trust that Verizon does not sell personal information to third party advertisers. However, I still must object to the privacy policy in question.

    Your privacy policy for CPNI information states that the information can be shared among Verizon Wireless’ “affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries.”

    The phrase “parent companies .. and their subsidiaries” already includes a wold-wide network of telecommunications companies owned by Verizon Communications and Vodaphone Group and that’s really what I would call the “Verizon group of companies.”

    So there is still the word “affiliates” that is not clear. Given that this is a legal document, I know that each word has been examined and approved by (some set of) Verizon Wireless lawyers and executives, so I still must wonder why this word is in the privacy policy. I believe this is what the news media and other bloggers are wondering, as well.

    Perhaps there’s a legal meaning to the word “affiliates” that I’m not aware of, but the word affiliate, as defined (see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affiliate ) connotes being a member of a club more than being part of a legally owned group of companies. But if “affiliates” does have a legal meaning that goes beyond the common usage, why not use a phrase that can be commonly understood instead? And given that the phrase “parent companies … and their subsidiaries” already includes every company owned by Verizon Communcations and Vodaphone Group, then why even have the word “affiliates” at all? I would opt out because “affiliates” is vaguely defined and it appears that it could mean anything that Verizon chooses for it to mean.

    CPNI information, the subject of the The CPNI privacy policy covers “the type, destination, technical configuration, location and amount of use” of services that Verizon Wireless provides.

    I would entirely opt out of sharing this information because I do not want my call history or location history passed around the world-wide amalgam of subsidiaries of Verizon Communications and Vodaphone Group, even if you do call them “the family.”

    Your policy blog posting, Mr. Gerace, specifically mentions offering bundled packaging of land and wireless service to customers. It seems like this could be offered WITHOUT sharing CPNI information, and by merely sharing billing address and/or home address information.

  185. Thank you for letting us know, it certainly reduces our trust in these companies for sure when they are not forthcoming with this information to allow us to make our own decisions. I opted out and was sure to opt out of all numbers on my account and not just the one I logged in on.

    Thanks for this info, it was very helpful.
    Barb

  186. I really appreciate your post. I do not have “Phone Controls” on My Profile page either (is it an anti-Mac thing?) so I simply called 1–800–333–9956 and followed the recorded steps to opt out. It was very quick.

    Verizon really likes to pull the fast ones. They once put the phone bill of someone in PA on MY bill and treated me like a criminal when I asked that all charges be removed. I even called the person whose bills I was getting and she was horrified to know that I was being sent itemized records of every call she made. It took over 3 months to straighten out.

  187. Thank you so much. I had previously opted out for my first three numbers. Your post reminded me to opt out the number that I added to my account the other day. Your link led me directly to the right place to opt out. after logging in.

  188. Read about this on the NYT website which linked here. Thanks so much for being on top of this and sharing it with the rest of us. Your link made it a breeze to go in and opt out… something Verizon Wireless should have done.
    nky

  189. Would you please someone who opted out using one of the 800 numbers describe the steps (“push 1″ , etc.) ?

  190. Observer 31, I think the only things you had to do were use the touch-tone buttons to give your phone #, your area code and then the last 4 digits of your social. The number I gave you above 1–800–333–9956 goes directly to the opt-out.

  191. Thanks for the instructions–I tend to disregard the legalese, so without your post mentioned in the NYT I wouldn’t have known about this!

  192. Thanks so much for posting about this and the instructions. I’m now going to blog about it and send a link to your site to our friends and family.

  193. Thank you for shedding light on this, many thanks!

  194. nice, really nice!

  195. […] followed up with Weinberger and told him to follow this protocol: Go to go the My Profile tab in the My Verizon account, then […]

  196. is it just me or has any one out there been told that incoming calls are free

  197. is it just me or has any one out there been told incoming calls are free when sghning up for new verizon wireless service.

  198. […] Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing- Joho the Blog, March 7, 2009 […]

  199. Just wanted to say thank you!

  200. […] vÄ“l nopietnāka, jo operatori paÅ¡i Å¡o informāciju izplata. David Weinberger savā blogā raksta Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing par Verizon, ka tas sÄ«kiem burtiem brÄ«dina, ka klienta rÄ“Ä·ina informācija, tehniskā […]

  201. Fashion a WordPress plug-in to dynamically pull music videos into blog posts. Via Programable Web […]

  202. […] Harvard University, is probably less likely to do that than all of us, and he found, embedded in a pamphlet full of legalese he received from Verizon, that he has only 45 days to opt out of […]

  203. […] here for more info:Verizon Customers – Just Say No!And here is where you can fix this:Tales of data pirates: Opting out of Verizon’s open-ended sharing |  Comments […]

  204. It would be interesting to see how many customers left Verizon because of this issue. I doubt it was that many.

  205. I was about to switch to verizon too : /

  206. I’ve been with Verizon for 10 years and generally happy. But I’ve noticed this thing with data sharing and had a frustrating time getting out of it. Thanks for the info!

  207. When i was living in the US , i had problem with Verizon. And now I am in canada and I have problem with Bell , I dont know if this is my problem or all those company on earth have problem ????

  208. seems like the “contracts” employed by those who believe rendering internets ads is a business model

    Verizon Wireless is a bit more cunning now: limiting “unlimited 3g” with NAT to break everything other than web browsing

  209. Shame, usually Verizon has a very good service

  210. Interesting, this reduces trust in these companies for sure when they are not forthcoming with this information to allow us to make our own decisions. I opted out and was sure to opt out of all numbers on my account and not just the one I logged in on. Thanks for sharing.

  211. Useful, to the point and very well written, some straightforward adjectives I’d prefer to use to describe this incredibly write-up of information.

  212. I simply had to appreciate you again. I’m not certain the things I might have gone through in the absence of the actual solutions shown by you about my field. It had been a frustrating case in my view, but seeing the well-written strategy you solved the issue made me to leap over fulfillment. I will be thankful for this help and sincerely hope you find out what an amazing job you have been accomplishing educating many people through a blog. I am certain you have never met all of us.

  213. […] would be data pirates and malcontents have websites that teach them their craft and even annual conferences […]

  214. […] I was first given a cell phone back in late 2003 (I was a very late bloomer) but due to recent policy issues (among many other customer service problems) I decided it was time to abandon ship. Sucks for ol’ […]

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