Especially with cable or data providers. One of the concerns with internet/cable providers is the amount of information they accumulate regarding your personal habits. With sad irony, your usage of their product is turned into data that they use to keep selling you more of their product.
Of course, you really are the product, because that is what advertisers are paying for, and with something like Verizon FiOS, this becomes clearer, as they use your usage data to upsell you additional products and to prevent you from attempting to change to another content provider.
While presented as a convenience for you the customer, there are issues with the practice that verge on more than a little uncomfortable. None of these businesses do this for your benefit. Verizon provides this information to their customer service representatives (CSR) to enable them to tailor your services that in the end, allow them to better monetize you.
Communication law provides little protection, as most statutes and regulations were written in the days when mechanical phone taps had to be placed by the phone company, and something like the Apple watch only appeared in Dick Tracy comic books.
With Verizon FiOS, Verizon’s bundled services, they know which channels you use, the programs you watch, how often you upload to the cloud, how much you use your DVRs and they know where you are when you are doing any and all of this.
their CSRs use the data to point out what you use and to offer strategic discounts to try and prevent you from changing providers. Apparently, their supervisors monitor CSR calls and will intervene during a call when a customer mentions competitors names.
Verizon notes that they obtain customer permission to access the personal data. In reality, it is a Hobson’s choice, as you more or less have to grant permission in order to speak to the CSR. And even if you don’t, it is unlikely that the question is presented in a manner that gives the consumer full disclosure allowing an informed choice regarding granting that permission.
In the 70s, it was said that with TV, the audience is the product. In the future, with services like Verizon FiOS, that statement will only grow more true.
Source: qz.com, “All the personal data that Verizon FiOS uses to keep you from canceling,” Shelly Banjo, May 28, 2015