Internet giants Google and Facebook are already making huge profits by selling private and confidential information of their users to third parties in one way or the other. However, in what seems to be a move inspired by the strategy of Verizon, AT&T has started selling a multitude of user data to the highest bidder.
According to AT&T, users will be automatically opted into the program, and the data will include physical location, mobile web browsing history and mobile app usage. This comes in the wake of the recent NSA PRISM controversy, and such a move has left a large number of AT&T users furious.
AT&T currently caters to over 105 million subscribers, and the general consensus is that most users have voiced their dissatisfaction to the company. However, to ease the mind of their customers, AT&T has promised to anonymize the data first, and then aggregate it with other users’ data to avoid any privacy issues.
AT&T users are also offered the unique option of opting out of the marketing program by visiting the AT&T website and logging in with their mobile number and password. Users can opt out of the program by accessing the privacy settings page and checking the relevant boxes under the blurb “Our External Marketing and Analytics Reports contain anonymous information about groups of our customers. You may choose to exclude the anonymous information from your accounts from these reports.”
However, this does not guarantee complete privacy, as user related data is still being logged. Opting out of the program only ensures that your data is not sold to any third party. To be completely anonymous and to protect your identity, it would make sense to invest in VPN services that allows you to encrypt all of the data that is being sent through your mobile carrier.