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How to stop AT&T from selling your private data to advertisers

AT&T Advertising Opt-out

Reports from earlier this week suggested that AT&T is ready to follow in its rivals’ footsteps and begin selling the private usage data it collects from its subscribers’ phones to advertisers. The data in question is anonymized, according to AT&T, but it includes very sensitive information such as customers’ locations, Web browsing history, mobile app usage and more. Privacy is something of a hot button issue right now, so it is likely that a number of AT&T subscribers would prefer to not have their private data sold to advertisers.

Luckily, there is a fast and easy way to opt out of AT&T’s “External Marketing and Analytics Reporting” program, and complete instructions follow below.

  1. Start by clicking the following link, which leads to AT&T’s opt-out page: http://www.att.com/cmpchoice
  2. Log in with your phone number and password
  3. You will now find yourself on AT&T’s privacy settings page, which includes the following blurb: “Our External Marketing and Analytics Reports contain anonymous information about groups of our customers. You may choose to exclude the anonymous information from your accounts from these reports. Please log in to each one of your accounts to opt-out.”
  4. Check the box next to each wireless phone line you wish to opt-out with
  5. Click the “Submit” button

Each of the selected lines will now be excluded from AT&T’s program. While anonymous usage data will still be collected each time you use your phone, that data will not be sold to advertisers.

AT&T also started selling location data, but it looks like that policy has been updated according to Ars Technica

Does AT&T actually sell private data?

AT&T’s policy is that it collects data from customers such as “your TV viewing, your location, or information about the apps you use or the websites you visit to place you into demographic or interest categories”.

This article was originally published on July 5th, 2013 and has been updated.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.