Unfortunately, the only way to fight this is with a customer boycott. That is to say that Verizon (and others) will not cease such clandestine activites without their advertisers pulling out.
The only way advertisers will pull out is with customer backlash, and that means we have to stop buying from companies who use such advertising.
And can you imagine what would have been lost had the public reacted in knee jerk fashion by keeping those letters private because of some short sighted political pundits?
So tell me again why we're okay with this today?
The US constitution stands on it's own merits. The daily tos and fros of negotiating the thing over those 4 months are irrelevant.
And yet, for decades after that original publishing of the US Constitution, those very tos and fros of negotiating were slowly trickled out, leading to some of the most foundational Supreme Court rulings which have preserved our country's freedoms.
Dismissing the process for the results is like missing the trees for the forest. Just as in politics, in the scientific method, the ends do not always justify the means, and pretending otherwise can lead to atrocities like eugenics. Apologies for invoking Godwin's law, but it does sufficiently demonstrate the point.
You only think you're laughing now.
I bought red Swingline staplers for everyone with which I had worked at the company. I labeled each "Property of <my name>" so they'd remember me.
It's not that bad. Results are more important than intraoffice politics, if your superiors enjoy making money.
I have been in this specific situation. In my case, the ultimate answer was to rewrite the portion of the program that was worst, mostly from scratch. We had some proprietary libraries for which we had obtained the source code. Going through said source showed that the flaws (in this case, performance drag) were well entrenched, so I decided it would be necessary to write our own code from scratch to replace it. There were no political ramifications because we no longer had a business relationship with the original company, as it had gone bankrupt, and the original code was now owned by our customer. It was on my head to succeed, and succeed I did. The performance of our software went well into the useful range and I had impressed my superiors immensely. Not only that, but about two weeks later, the other customer of our software had canceled their project, so this project that I had just brought to fruition was now the only project using our software. I saved 20+ jobs and was now in charge of our group's only project. I was a hero.
That's when politics begin to matter. Another group in the company had lost all it's customers at the same time as our group lost our other customer. That group's manager needed a project at which to work, so after arranging a public shaming of my group's manager and taking over my group, he had me moved to the basement in another building... literally... He had to replace me with 3 managers and 2 programmers and 4 operators, but then, he was able to charge the customer for 9 employees' time instead of just 1 employee's time. Now he looked like the hero and I was looking for another job. If not for charging time spent to the customer, he probably would have lost that fight.
The moral of the story is: Do your absolute best and, if money is more important in your company than politics, you will be rewarded.
Once it hits the fan, the only rational choice is to sweep it up, package it, and sell it as fertilizer.