AT&T Stops Adding Tracker Cookie to Customer Searches

We have gotten used to companies acting badly regarding the internet – especially the companies that we use to provide our connections.  Among the worst have been the mobile carriers that connect our smart phones to the net.  But today, one of the mobile carriers promised to stop the slimy practice of adding code to our phone-based activities to track what we do on the web.  And, I should point out that it is pretty bad when the best thing a company does is stop one of its horrible practices.

Here is the story from electronista.com.

AT&T shuts down mobile ‘super cookie’ monitoring, Verizon continues

By Electronista Staff

Both providers have come under heavy fire for possible Wiretap Act violations

Under enormous pressure after reports showed that some wireless providers were installing “super cookies” on user’s devices, AT&T has ceased the practice. The carrier released a brief statement earlier this week about how the tracking mechanism was a limited time test, and has “been phased off” the company’s wireless network. Competitor Verizon continues the practice, and is showing no signs of stopping.

Both Verizon and AT&T had deposited the cookies on devices with the intent of building user profiles, including websites visited, apps used, and other metrics. This data is useful for marketing as well as as a commodity to be sold to advertisers and other businesses.

AT&T is reserving the right to sell the data at some point, but is claiming that they will allow users to opt out of this process. As of yet, the company has not offered any way to stop future sales of data. Verizon has an opt-out program currently, but it appears to do nothing to the “super cookie” that is present on the device, and the actual functionality of the process is in question.

 

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