Cellular carriers in the USA are looking to start selling customer usage data to third parties and marketers, according to TechCrunch. This is being done in an effort labeled as ‘personalization’ and using some other boring and friendly sounding descriptions. Though the information is supposedly aggregate and anonymous, it still may include fairly personal details like what apps you use, your location data, and web browsing history, and other bits of info that privacy conscious individuals probably don’t want to share with the outside world.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy for users to opt out of these efforts through the major US carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile:
- AT&T customers can opt out here
- Verizon customers can opt out by visiting this website and looking under “Manage Privacy Settings”, or by calling this phone number 1-800-333-9956
- Sprint customers can opt out here
- T-Mobile customers can adjust settings at this website, or call 1-800-937-8997, and opt out of individual cookies through this third party site
In most cases it only takes a moment to opt-out, though you will have to log into your account and opt out per phone number, or call and speak with a representative and specifically ask not to be included in the data sharing. If you’re not too excited about the idea of your cell provider selling some of your personal data, even if anonymized, it’s probably worth spending the minute or so to opt out.
Thanks to TechCrunch for pointing this out, and for providing the various opt-out links.