Verizon has a new rewards program out this week, called Verizon Up, which awards users a credit for every $300 they spend on their Verizon bill that can be redeemed toward various rewards.
Customers will be able to get rewards such as “Device Dollars toward your next device purchase, discounts on an accessory, or partner rewards,” along with other surprise offerings and first-come, first-serve ticket opportunities, which all seems like a nice occasional thing to get for regularly paying your cellphone bill.
But, as noted by Brandon Robbins on Twitter, the new program comes with a pretty big catch: you have to enroll in Verizon Selects, a program that allows the company to track a huge chunk of your personal data. That includes web browsing, app usage, device location, service usage, demographic info, postal or email address, and your interests. Furthermore, that data gets shared with Verizon’s newly formed Oath combination (aka AOL and Yahoo), plus with “vendors and partners” who work with Verizon. Which is kind of a long list of people who have access to what feels like a fairly significant amount of your data.
It’s worth noting that Verizon has been operating under these terms and conditions for a while with an earlier rewards program called “Smart Rewards,” which also required users to opt in to the Verizon Selects tracking program. But that doesn’t make it any better that this is the trade-off you’re forced to make to take advantage of the rewards. It kind of makes it seem like they exist just so Verizon can get permission to track you.