AT&T: Pay more if you don’t want to be snooped upon!
AT&T has said that it would leave its subscribers alone if cough up additional $29.00 for participating in the Internet Preferences Analytic Program.
If you are a customer of AT&T’s GigaPower fiber-optic Internet access service and you don’t want to see personalized ads based on your browsing history, searched terms and clicked links, you’ll have to shell the extra $29 over and above the services that users opt out for.
AT & T’s Giga Power fiber optic Internet access service has been made available to Kansas City, Missouri, residents since the Wednesday. This internet service was available to Austin and Texas residents since past 2 years. The company has rolled out premier offers to its users for an internet speed of 1 gigabit per second service. Either users can opt for the Internet Preferences Analytic Programs or they can opt for the standard AT&T’s Giga Power Standard Offer.
Internet Preferences Analytic Program means that the user gives permission to AT&T to access user’s web browsing information like the web pages visited, the searches made by user. On the basis of this information user will start receiving customized ads as per user’s preferences. Indirectly it would mean that AT&T would give away the user’s information to its various tie up companies (marketeers) who would in turn send their details as per user’s wish either to the email or through ads or through messages on phones.
The following examples would make the view more clear : Ads which suits more to the taste and needs of the users would pop up. If a user is searching for some hotels then maybe they will get ads which suggests them offers for “rent a car”. If the person is checking for some concert tickets then they would get some ads for restaurants near the venue of the concert. So here the browser derives information on the basis of what the user is searching for and then would send it to the concerned category which will then pop up tailor made ads as per user’s requirement. Seems more of a talking yellow pages.
Now the main problem is for customers who do not wish to opt for the Internet Preferences Analytic Program and also prefer to stick to their data privacy. These users will have to go for the AT&T’s Giga Power Standard Offer and shell out additional $29.00 and end up paying total monthly rental of $99.00 to AT&T internet service.
Internet Preference Analytic Program has tie up with many companies who have to pay AT&T for their ads and hence if a customer opts for this service their overall internet service charge gets reduced by $29.00. On the other hand it seems to be a way to get more customers to opt for this program by AT&T and hence benefit its paid clients.
AT&T can still use web browsing data and wireless application information pertaining to searches, links clicked and this data can be traced by AT&T even if the cookies are deleted or the ad block programs are activated including the case if user gives “do not track” setting command. So for users who are paying additional $29 it seems to be a bad bargain as they are not only paying more but they are also sharing their data with the internet service. In comparison Google and Facebook are not charging anything to their users for letting their privacy intact.
As Internet has become a basic necessity for users, the Internet service providers seem to like milking the golden cow to eternity.