AT&T to stop tracking mobile Internet use

AT&T customers were probably totally, blissfully unaware they were being tracked by the carrier. In attaching a unique identifier to your mobile Internet activity, AT&T was culling all kinds of data about what sites you visited, and what apps you use. The tracking number was untouchable, too, and left users without the ability to delete it. At AT&T spokesperson now says the tracking scheme "has been phased out" of their network, but it could come back in the future.

AT&T may also sell our data. Though AT&T claims it was all part of a test program, their spokesperson did say AT&T may launch a program to sell data collected by a tracking number. If they did bring the tracking scheme back, AT&T says "customers will be able to opt out of the ad program and not have the numeric code inserted on their device."

AT&T and Verizon were both using tracking identifiers to digitally follow users, and Verizon says they're still evaluating the practice to find if it works well. Verizon says the data is anonymous, and none is personally identifiable. Instead, they use your history to feed you ads.

As an opt-in advertising scheme, this will likely give AT&T plenty of data about a variety of customers. Though this is directly related to AT&T mobile customers, there's still no word if this will affect their Gigabit Internet service, which has some caveats that allow AT&T to keep an eye on your activity.

Source: ProPublica