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AT&T prepping sale of customers' anonymous location information and Web, app usage da

Iris

rainbow 11!
AT&T prepping sale of customers' anonymous location information and Web, app usage data - FierceWireless

AT&T (NYSE:T) said it "may" begin selling anonymous information about its customers' wireless and Wi-Fi locations, U-verse usage, website browsing, mobile application usage and "other information" to other businesses. The carrier said it will protect its customers' privacy by providing the data in aggregate so it cannot be used to identify an individual. The carrier also said its customers can opt out of the program.

AT&T is not the first company to sell anonymous information about its customers' location and behavior. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and most other Internet companies have long sold such data. In the wireless industry, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched its Precision Market Insights business last year, which also anonymizes and sells customer location and usage information. Further, companies such as AirSage and SAP have recently begun selling aggregated location and usage information from wireless carriers.

The sale of such information falls under the "big data" movement, which IDC predicts will grow to nearly $24 billion by 2016.

Nonetheless, AT&T's plans are notable since they appear to combine wireless, TV and Wi-Fi usage data. AT&T is the nation's only major carrier that has fully integrated extensive wireless and wireline businesses (Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone, and operates largely independently from its parent companies).

AT&T disclosed its plans in an update to its privacy policy. The carrier provided some examples as to how it might sell its customers' usage and location data:

"Reports for retail businesses that show the number of wireless devices in or near their store locations by time of day and day of the week, together with demographic characteristics of the users (such as age and gender) in those groups.
"Reports that combine anonymous U-verse TV viewing behaviors with other aggregate information we may have about our subscribers to create reports that would help a TV network better understand the audiences that are viewing their programs, those that are not, how frequently they watch, when they watch, and other similar information; and
"Reports for device manufacturers that combine information such as device type, make and model with demographic and regional location information to reflect the popularity of particular device types with various customer segments."
I know there are a few users here, so I thought all of you should know. This really bothers me, sure, it's anonymous and they are grouping everything together so that nothing can be pin pointed to an individual, I still don't like it. It leaves a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm really glad you can opt out... Though, considering everything going on these days, who knows if it's really true? they could be lying.

Here is the opt out link, at least I think. You need to log in and I can't.

https://cprodmasx.att.com/commonLogin/igate_wam/controller.do?TAM_OP=login&USERNAME=unauthenticated&ERROR_CODE=0x00000000&ERROR_TEXT=HPDBA0521I%20%20%20Successful%20completion&METHOD=GET&URL=%2Fpkmsvouchfor%3FATT%26https%3A%2F%2Fcprodx.att.com%2Fcmp%2Fcmpa%2Flogin.jsp&REFERER=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reddit.com%2Fr%2Ftechnology%2Fcomments%2F1hkerj%2Fatt_prepping_sale_of_customers_anonymous_location%2F&HOSTNAME=cprodmasx.att.com&AUTHNLEVEL=&FAILREASON=&OLDSESSION=
 

AnitaKnapp

It's not me, it's you.
V.I.P.
I used the link you posted and opted out, so I can confirm that it works. Thanks Kay.
 

Iris

rainbow 11!
Good, I'm glad it does. Thanks for confirming! Let's hope you are truly opting out and it's not some farce. or that down the road, they don't take it away. i'd be pissed off.
 

Millz

Better Call Saul
Staff member
V.I.P.
I opted out as well.

I hope this works! And thanks for making this thread, Kay. Saved me some trouble haha
 

Blueyes

Registered Member
I opted out but what concerns me is that it was only for U-verse and I also have my wireless with them as well.
 

dDave

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
Is this even legal? Something tells me that in contract you have to sign in order to get service that this is not included.

I think it's terrible the recent advances that have been made in spying on people and the trade of information. I strongly disapprove of what the federal government is doing with spying on American citizens without cause.

I'm glad I'm not with AT&T, stuff like this shows just how low they're willing to go. I can only hope that Sprint doesn't do this as well.
 

dDave

Well-Known Member
V.I.P.
They all sell information, it's just "how much" of it.
Yeah, well one thing to consider is why anybody needs to buy this information in the first place. What possible use could you get out of something like this? It all seems very suspicious to me. It's not worth the cost just to make demographics (if that's what they're going to do with it).

The information business always makes me wary because it has the potential to be very dangerous.
 

Iris

rainbow 11!
More than likely it's for advertising. At least, that makes sense to me. not that I agree with it, I really don't.
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
They shouldn't be allowed to sell your private information like that. At the very least if they do you should be paid because that information is yours. Nothing seems to be private anymore.
 
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