back to article Ad-slinger Turn caught with its hand in Verizon's 'supercookie' jar

Ad tech biz Turn Inc, which allegedly illegally tracked people online, has settled with US trade watchdog the FTC. The regulator said Redwood City-based ad-server Turn stalked Verizon mobile subscribers from website to website so it could build up profiles on each of them. That allowed the company to target people with ads …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Let's be honest here…

    … you stopped using those supercookies in 2015 because Verizon was forced to stop production then.

    Had they still been available prior to you getting caught out, you'd still be using them.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Let's be honest here…

      So we have an ad agency shoveling BS by the truckload... and they expect us to believe their motives are pure. Yeah.. if Verizon hadn't been caught, they wouldn't have stopped.

  2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge


    I could have sworn this A Holes were in hot water a couple of years ago on roughly the same type of thing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turn?

      They settled for less money than they made in profit, with no admission of liability or criminal wrongdoing. Why the fuck wouldn't they do exactly the same thing over and over again, if that's the outcome each time you get caught?

  3. goldcd

    Can't help but this is still all on Verizon.

    They made the drug, and now we're picking on the addicted consumers of it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another 'advertising' malpractice story. Anyone else getting close to giving up their on line presence because of slimeball advertising outfits (yes Google you are included) ? Advertising seems to be more important/profitable than the products they try to sell !

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Hang on - if you aren't paying then you *are* the product they are selling...

  5. frank ly Silver badge


    "... Turn has agreed to be open and honest with customers about the tracking practices ..."

    Which 'customers' are these? A 'customer' is someone who willingly pays for goods or services that they want or need. I'd say the correct word here is 'victims' or 'targets'.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Definitions

      Perhaps Turn have promised to be open and honest with ad purchasers. Turn can promise to lie to targets about the functionality of to 'do not track' button. They can promise that customers will only pay for adverts that appear on the browsers of targets who have expressed a relevant interest. Customers can be reassured that Turn will be honest with them and keep promises just like they do with everyone else.

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    "Turn has agreed to be open and honest with customers"

    Translation: "We will make sure that we will not be caught again"

  7. GrandTour

    Oooh! Busted!

    I knew invasive tracking cookies were a bad idea...

    I used and recommended Disconnect Privacy to kill the cookie before it could get out on the network.

  8. cybersaur

    Turn is why I feel zero guilt in blocking all ads

    Reading that the headers are injected into upstream traffic, so there seems to be little that can be done by the end user to protect their privacy. It would be nice if the FTC could level crippling fines on Turn and Verizon. Ideally, Turn should be fined out of business and Verizon should be fined to the point of being unable to turn a profit for several years.

  9. hellwig Silver badge

    But they kept the data

    They were caught and reprimanded, but I bet they still have all that data.

    Why doesn't every legal jurisdiction have a "cannot profit from your crimes" law? Make Turn wipe their servers and backups to ensure all illegally retrieved data is gone.

    Instead, they said "oops, sorry", and just get to carry on with 3-years of illegally gathered data on Verizon customers. Even today, a lot of that data is probably still viable, not everyone changes cell networks every year.

  10. Alistair Silver badge

    @ cybersaur:

    Not make a profit? jk MY GOD YOU COMMIE!!!. /jk (besides, they'd just pass it out to consumers as a "moderate price increase due to the cost of doing business")

    @ hellwig:

    Nice catch. GMTA!

  11. RW

    False premises

    I am faintly (very very faintly) amused that the advertising wonks think that tracking anyone as they browse the web will reveal their "hobbies and interests". Let's face the truth: advertising wonks are professional liars. They lie to the target of their b.s., they lie to the people who hire them, and they lie to themselves about the efficacy of their filthy tactics.

    Offhand, I can't think of a single thing I've bought as a result of online advertising. Amazon does make "recommendations" based on my browsing of Amazon, and those have sometimes led to a purchase of music I wasn't previously aware of, but that's about it. And even Amazon isn't right a lot of the time. My purchases of a couple of small, sensitive scales (one good down to 1 mg, more or less) are related to weighing the cat's medication and nothing else, and I have no interest in buying another scale of any type.

    It will be noted that weighing the cat's medication is not an interest or a hobby.

    Adblock-Plus makes browsing almost entirely ad-free and much more pleasant (and useful) than when your browser screen is cluttered with silly, pointless, ignorant ads.

    PS: The medication I refer to is KCl; kitty has a slight K deficiency.

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