DoJ and FCC Regulators Must Scrutinize Verizon/Yahoo deal
By: Jeff Chester | Jul 25 2016
Statement of Jeff Chester, CDD executive director: Regulators, including the DOJ and FCC, must prevent Verizon from taking anticompetitive and unfair advantage of its broadband ISP bird’s nest view of what their subscribers and consumers do—online and off. The proposed takeover of Yahoo’s core digital data advertising business, when combined with the capability to gather information from its wireless devices, broadband networks, and set-top boxes, gives it control over the key screens that Americans use today. Verizon has already supercharged its use of “Big Data” tactics to monitor their customers and online users, including through its recent shopping spree that includes AOL and Millennial Media (and also enables it to manage part of Microsoft Advertising’s consumer data targeting operations). Verizon’s ability to track a single person across their devices, when they are in a store, at home, work or school, and connect the digital dots to know whether they are now on their mobile phone or home watching TV, is a threat to the privacy of Americans.
Regulators should closely scrutinize the Yahoo dea to prevent anticompetitive practices related to Verizon’s ability to leverage its mobile and geo-location consumer data. The FCC should also impose strict safeguards that prevent Verizon from combining Yahoo data with what it already knows about its customers and consumers. The FCC should also quickly enact its proposed consumer privacy rules for broadband ISPs. As broadband network monopolies such as Verizon merge online ad giants, new threats to consumer privacy emerge. That’s why action of FCC Chairman Wheeler’s privacy proposal is required. The Obama Administration and the FCC must ensure that deals like Verizon/Yahoo don’t further erode the little privacy Americans enjoy today when they use digital media.
For background on Verizon’s use of data, see the section in our recent report: https://www.democraticmedia.org/article/big-data-watching-growing-digita...
also, to see Verizon’s recent growing capabilities to use our geo-location and app data, note from Millennial Media 10 k 2015 (that company now owned by Verizon) My bold:
Our robust data management platform, or DMP, allows us to access, analyze and utilize the large volumes of data we
possess. This data includes location, social, interest, and contextual data, as well as the insights we derive from measuring
campaign effectiveness—providing a unique, multidimensional profile of individual consumers. To date, we have developed
more than 700 million active server‑side unique user profiles, over 60 million of which link multiple mobile devices and PCs
to a single specific user on an anonymous basis. These user profiles, combined with third party data from our data partners,
enable us to deliver more relevant, engaging and effective advertising to our advertising clients. Our data asset also allows us
to measure the impact of mobile advertising on consumer engagement, intent and action. We have developed a suite of
solutions which measures several different areas of mobile advertising impact. As of December 31, 2014, our platform reached
more than 650 million monthly unique users worldwide, including over 175 million monthly unique users in the United
States alone. Approximately 60,000 apps and mobile sites are enabled by their developers to receive ads delivered through
our platform, and we can deliver ads on over 9,000 different mobile device types and models. While averaging more than
three billion ad requests daily throughout 2014, in the last two months of 2014, our platform typically handled over nine
billion ad requests daily, including requests received through our supply side tool, and requests received through third party
platforms and processed by our programmatic buying tool.