Earlier this week, AT&T announced that they were getting in the business of selling anonymized information about their customers to buyers.
In the Internet world, aggregate and anonymous data can be used by retailers, advertisers and marketing companies to figure out what consumers want in a particular area. You benefit by having better products available and seeing advertising more relevant to your particular consumer segment.
The new programs we are introducing will use aggregate and anonymous data to create marketing and analytics reports, and to allow us to deliver more relevant advertising to our customers.
AT&T assures its customers that all this data will remain anonymous, but that information does include details about customers' location, browsing data, etc. AT&T sought to assuage any privacy concerns by telling customers that they could opt out if they chose to do so.
In creating these programs, we wanted to make sure they fit with our privacy commitments. That’s why we also created consumer controls that will allow you to choose not to have your anonymous information included in these reports, and to choose not to receive the more relevant advertising if you don’t want it. To be clear, you will still receive the same number of ads, they just won’t be as relevant. Of critical importance to our customers is the fact that these programs are based on strictly anonymous information, and they are designed for insight into groups, not individuals.
How does one go about opting out of this program?
Zach Epstein at BGR.com outlines this process:
1. Start by going here: http://www.att.com/cmpchoice
2. Log in
3. You will see this: “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.”
4. Check each line you want to opt-out with
5. Click “Submit”
Each line that you opt out will now be excluded from the program. Data will still be collected, but not sold to advertisers.