Reports from earlier this week suggested that AT&T is ready to follow in its rivals’ footsteps and begin selling the private usage data it collects from its subscribers’ phones to advertisers. The data in question is anonymized, according to AT&T, but it includes very sensitive information such as customers’ locations, Web browsing history, mobile app usage and more. Privacy is something of a hot button issue right now, so it is likely that a number of AT&T subscribers would prefer to not have their private data sold to advertisers.
Luckily, there is a fast and easy way to opt out of AT&T’s “External Marketing and Analytics Reporting” program, and complete instructions follow below.
- Start by clicking the following link, which leads to AT&T’s opt-out page: http://www.att.com/cmpchoice
- Log in with your phone number and password
- You will now find yourself on AT&T’s privacy settings page, which includes the following 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. Please log in to each one of your accounts to opt-out.”
- Check the box next to each wireless phone line you wish to opt-out with
- Click the “Submit” button
Each of the selected lines will now be excluded from AT&T’s program. While anonymous usage data will still be collected each time you use your phone, that data will not be sold to advertisers.
AT&T also started selling location data, but it looks like that policy has been updated according to Ars Technica
Does AT&T actually sell private data?
AT&T’s policy is that it collects data from customers such as “your TV viewing, your location, or information about the apps you use or the websites you visit to place you into demographic or interest categories”.