User privacy has been a hotly debated topic as of late, especially in the mobile world with the NSA and PRISM listening in on all of our calls. However, today AT&T is talking about anonymously selling user data to other businesses, and this falls under the “big data” movement we’ve been seeing as of late.
Now don’t get too alarmed. While the report states AT&T will start selling wireless and WiFi locations, web browsing stats, U-verse usage, mobile app downloads and usage, as well as “other information”, we will see some privacy. The carrier states it will protect our privacy by providing the data anonymously. Or in aggregated data so it cannot be used to identify anyone.
Verizon Wireless did the exact same thing last year, and called the business Precision Market Insights. Google and Facebook have been doing this for years, and now it appears that AT&T will join the business. Whether we like it or not. Unlike Verizon, AT&T will be sharing both wireless and wired information, as well as U-verse TV customers data.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but what do I know. As a bit of silver lining, AT&T has stated that customers can opt out should they choose. Although surely that process won’t be extremely easy, or advertised.