Customers not wanting to be included in AT&T’s new smartphone tracking system are able to opt out of this program, a spokeswoman for the company announced on Saturday. Both AT&T and Verizon landed in the privacy firestorm neither of them wanted to experience when information about their “permacookies” reached the public.
A permacookie is a tracking method allowing providers to follow what users are doing online and then handing that information over to advertisers. And although Verizon decided to allow its permacookie program to continue gathering information, AT&T announced that it would cease the practice.
These permacookies add an undetectable identification number to all web traffic on a user’s cell phone, which then mark any website that the user visited. Consequently, advertisers could build up profiles on users by following the website trail he or she would visit.
Verizon, on the other hand, calls his a “unique identifier header”, outlining that the program works on its marketing page. Debra Lewis, Verizon spokeswoman, announced that the program which had been developed two years ago would remain in place.
On the other hand, rumors that other major wireless providers in the nation would employ similar methods were put to rest after no evidence was found supporting this claim.
AT&T’s spokeswoman, Emily Edmonds, said that the company’s Relevant Advertising opt-out site was still live despite the company not having a Mobile Relevant Advertising program. According to her, the website gives users the possibility of opting-out in the case of future tracking situations.
If you are among those wanting to opt out of the whole tracking business, there are some steps you need to take:
-by using the mobile device you want to exclude from tracking , visit AT&T’s mobieoptout.att page
– ensure that your connection is over the company’s wireless network and not over Wi-Fi
– choose the opt-out option and wait until a message is received informing you that your device will no longer receive the company’s AdWorks Relevant Advertising
“If and when we start a mobile Relevant Advertising program, customers will be able to opt out of receiving mobile Relevant Advertising, and also be able to choose not to have the associated numeric code inserted on their device,”
Edmonds said, noting that the company treasures customer trust.