AT&T and Verizon have come under intense scrutiny for their use of ‘permacookies’ which track user’s behavior and trends online while using their devices. Now, AT&T has temporarily killed their use of permacookies and announced that users will no longer have to worry about the invasive tracking method being implemented on their devices.
Verizon customers have had the opportunity to opt-out of having those permacookies tracked, but AT&T announced that they would cease using those types of tracking methods, since the company does not have a viable advertising platform right now.
AT&T noted that this test-run trying out these permacookies was something that the company had been working on to see how effective an advertising platform would be, and how well they could collect data. That said, many privacy advocates said that the data reach was too far, and something that the company should not have access to.
Permacookies aren’t exactly like traditional cookies in your browser, like you find on your internet browser, but rather uniquely identified cookies, that are marked to notate that the user is on the carrier specific device.
A lot of outpouring has occurred complaining that permacookies are too invasive and that unlike traditional cookies, they cannot be deleted, or blocked unless the carrier allows for opting out to happen. Interestingly, Verizon and AT&T say that users can opt out of the data sharing, but that when it ultimately comes down to the tracking of traffic – that is something that remains in the hands of the carrier.
Some experts have said using Wi-Fi when you can, plus using a VPN to assist in keeping your web browsing data safe. However, even wireless routers, and modems can reveal an individual’s location and give the company the ability to track further data. Ultimately though what it comes down to is understanding that at minimum, the most important factor is being on Wi-Fi, and opting out whenever possible from these tracking, type, and policies. Whether you use AT&T, Verizon, or any other major network though, users should expect to see the service providers getting more involved with advertising, to find a new revenue stream that has not yet been tapped.