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Verizon to Acquire Yahoo: Is Your Privacy For Sale?

By Sagar Dommaraju

Verizon has its eyes on the lucrative advertising market, as it announced a deal to buy Yahoo for $4.8 billion. But the move, which follows Verizon’s purchase of AOL just last year, has privacy activists worried.

“The acquisition of Yahoo  will help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said.

Verizon—which has been collecting behavioral data on its Internet subscribers—aims to use Yahoo’s online advertising reach to help companies target their ads. That means you might see pitches based on your Internet searches, your online purchases…or even your location.

Jim Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, warns that regulators “must ensure that deals like Verizon/Yahoo don’t further erode the little privacy Americans enjoy today when they use digital media.”

Activists, including CUB, have been pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require Internet providers to obtain explicit permission from consumers to use their data. That could be problematic for Verizon and its proposed merger. We’ll keep you posted!