Verizon’s controversial “Perma-Cookie” that used to track the web-activities of its users sparked an outrage among the privacy concerned users when it was revealed earlier this month. But now, AT&T has quietly announced that the carrier is no longer using the “Perma-Cookie” technology that adds a Unique identifier Header (UIDH) to each of its users to track its smartphone users’ web activities.
Like Verizon, AT&T had also used this technology to post targeted and most relevant advertising based on users’ activities through an undetectable identification number to all its mobile internet users and every user’s internet connection passed through this UIDH to give the data to the carrier. Hence, it was very easy for advertisers follow AT&T subscribers’ website trail user would visit to pop the targeted ads.
According to Wired, Verizon has been gradually inserting a string of about 50 letters, numbers and characters into data between the subscribers and the sites they were visiting in the past two years. It would be the same in the case of AT&T too. Privacy advocates are not happy with the users’ privacy invading technology of AT&T or any other wireless carriers in the US. “ISP’s are trusted connectors of users and they shouldn’t be modifying our traffic on the way to the internet,” said technologist Jacob Hoffman-Andrews at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
AT&T revealed about discontinuation of the technology in its network. AT&T’s spokeswoman Emily Edmonds said that its subscribers who do not wish to get tracked by the company were given an option to opt out of the program. Last month, Forbes noted that AT&T had given a specific URL to opt-out of this ‘super cookie’ tracking program. Users were asked to visit this URL via AT&T’s mobile network, and not through any Wi-Fi internet connection.
Edmonds stated that although the company has stopped adding a unique identification header to its users’ mobile devices, users can still opt-out of any future tracking programs, Hence the opt-out URL still active for such users. If you wish to opt out of its AT&T AdWorks program, visit this link through your mobile connection and opt-out.