Recently, there were news reports that Verizon and AT&T were using tracking “supercookies” to keep tabs on their customers’ online activities. These supercookies were virtually impossible to get rid of. Now, ProPublica reports that AT&T has stopped using the supercookie tracking technology on mobile phones, but it may restart the use of the technology:
AT&T says it has stopped its controversial practice of adding a hidden, undeletable tracking number to its mobile customers’ Internet activity. […]
The tracking numbers can be used by sites to build a dossier about a person’s behavior on mobile devices – including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long.The controversial type of tracking is used to monitor users’ behavior on their mobile devices where traditional tracking cookies are not as effective. The way it works is that a telecommunications carrier inserts a uniquely identifying number into all the Web traffic that transmits from a users’ phone.
AT&T said it used the tracking numbers as part of a test, which it has now completed.
[Emily J. Edmonds, an AT&T spokeswoman, said] AT&T may still launch a program to sell data collected by its tracking number, but that if and when it does, “customers will be able to opt out of the ad program and not have the numeric code inserted on their device.”
A Verizon spokeswoman says its tracking program is still continuing, but added “as with any program, we’re constantly evaluating.”