Internet News

AT&T Stops Using Invasive Web Tracking IDs On Phones

AT&T Mobility, the second-largest cellular provider in the United States, said on Friday that it has stopped using the controversial technology that attached hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from customers’ smartphones.

The change removes a string of numbers and letters that are passed to websites a consumer visits. This code can be used to track consumers across the Internet in a lucrative data-mining opportunity for advertisers that has the potential to reveal users’ identities based on their online habits, Fox Business reported.

Privacy advocates have complained about these unique codes as they cannot be turned off and they allow advertising networks to bypass privacy tools like do-not-track lists and private browser settings, according to Wired.

Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile company in the U.S., still uses the tracking technology, dubbed “super cookies.” While AT&T has put its tracking on hold for now, Verizon still continues its Relevant Advertising tracking and advertising program that was put in place in 2012.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Emily Edmonds” author_title=”AT&T spokeswoman”]

If and when we start a mobile Relevant Advertising program, customers will be able to opt out of receiving mobile Relevant Advertising, and also be able to choose not to have the associated numeric code inserted on their device.


The tracking codes are part of a new plan by the cellular industry to track users and their devices. While the codes do not contain personal or identifying information, they are unique and sent to websites along with personal details that the user may have submitted, such as a phone number or name to subscribe to an email newsletter or place an order.

Consumer interest in privacy and anonymity online has increased in recent years following the release of information by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden, who leaked documents that showed the NSA was collecting phone records and digital communications like text messages and emails from millions of U.S. citizens not suspected of a crime.

AT&T said that it may start the tracking program again in the future. Customers who do not want to be part of a future AT&T phone tracking system can opt out now before the company starts a program, USA Today reported. To do so, customers can access from their AT&T device while on the AT&T wireless network and then select the Opt-Out button.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.