Marketers are worried that the lack of cookies—or pixel-firing Web tracking mechanisms about customer activities on sites—will make targeting and retargeting particularly difficult on mobile devices. However, Verizon's "unique customer codes" can track users across browsers and via apps, even when they've opted out of cookies, reports The New York Times. "While Internet users can choose to delete their regular cookies, Verizon Wireless users cannot delete the company's so-called supercookies," write Natasha Singer and Brian X. Chen on Sunday.
[TM Editors Note: This Scientific American story appeared on Feb. 18. How should marketers respond to arguments like it?] Imagine an Internet where unseen hands curate your entire experience. Where third parties predetermine the news, products and prices you see—even the people you meet. ... This is not far from what is happening today. Thanks to technology that enables Google, Facebook and others to gather information about us and use it to tailor the user experience to our own personal tastes, habits and income, the Internet has become a different place for the rich and for the poor