Good news, everyone! Wait, no. Not that one. The other one.
Bad news, everyone!
AT&T is considering selling your usage data (location, web browsing history, etc.) to advertisers, having seemingly decided that it’s been too long since everyone was mad at them.
AT&T is quick to point out that other companies, like Verizon, have been doing this for a while. (Oh, okay — as long as everyone else’s data is getting thrown about, too, I guess it’s okay. Cough.)
They also note that Facebook and Google do similar things, somehow forgetting that those users generally aren’t already paying those guys $100 a month for a phone that can only make or receive calls when it feels like it.
If there’s any upside, it’s that AT&T is promising to anonymize and aggregate the data before they sell it. It’s just too bad that “anonymizing” large chunks of data doesn’t really work.
At least you’ll be getting a sweet discount on your bill since AT&T is making a bit of change slingin’ your daterbits around, right? Just kidding, you won’t. They’re just going to use it to show you “more relevant advertising.”
Fortunately, it’s not too hard to opt out — you just have to know to do it, and then dig around AT&T’s site to find the link.
Don’t feel like digging? Here’s the link you’ll need: http://att.com/cmpchoice. Sign in, opt out, and you’re done. If you feel like digging a bit deeper, here’s AT&T’s entire page about opting-out of things like this.
And for all of you who might’ve just learned that your carrier probably does something similar:
- Here’s Verizon’s program. You can opt out by calling 1-800-333-9956.
- Here’s Sprint’s program. Opt out at http://www.sprint.com/mychoices
- Here’s T-Mobile’s program. T-Mobile goes through a company called Network Advertising Initiative, and doesn’t seem to offer an account-wide opt-out. The closest thing I can find is a browser-by-browser, cookie-based opt-out system, found here.