I'm a security-conscious Verizon user, and it has recently come to light that Verizon is now serving up my web traffic to ad partners while en route. I understand that once my data has left the device, it's impractical to try and control it/protect it, but is there anything I can do to protect my information from this technique, or at least make it worthless to advertisers as far as I am concerned (this may be worth asking as a separate question)?
Solutions I'm interested in can be as far-ranging as rooting my phone to install some kind of packet spoofer extension on a mobile browser (Okay, I said I was security-conscious, not security-adept) to using a VPN to route all my web traffic, but I'm obviously not so much interested in "change ISPs". If it can't be avoided, a brief, high-level explanation that details anything these articles left out on the method would be appreciated.
Pertinent quotes from the articles in case the links go down:
Verizon Wireless has been subtly altering the web traffic of its wireless customers for the past two years, inserting a string of about 50 letters, numbers, and characters into data flowing between these customers and the websites they visit.
The company [...] calls this a Unique Identifier Header, or UIDH. It’s a kind of short-term serial number that advertisers can use to identify you on the web, and it’s the lynchpin of the company’s internet advertising program. But critics say that it’s also a reckless misuse of Verizon’s power as an internet service provider—something that could be used as a trump card to obviate established privacy tools such as private browsing sessions or “do not track” features.
Verizon's solution is called the PrecisionID. When consumers visit certain websites or mobile apps, a request is sent through a Verizon network. Precision packages the request, as a hashed, aggregated and anonymous unique identifier, and turns it into a lucrative chunk of data for advertisers.
Verizon said it is not using or selling its first-party subscriber data, but rather deploying partnerships with third-party data providers to target Verizon's massive consumer base.
It's a cookie alternative for a marketing space vexed by the absence of cookies.
While I've heard (but not read for myself) that AT&T has said it will allow opting out, Verizon has waited until just recently to announce that it, too, will allow opting out:
Verizon says it will soon offer customers a way to opt out from having their smartphone and tablet browsing tracked via a hidden un-killable tracking identifier.