Global: Trade Privacy for Money, says AT&T

AT&T-privacy-issueCharging for privacy is the new business frontier for internet service providers, proves AT&T, the American multinational telecommunications corporation. The service provider has begun to charge its GigaPower customers to pay more if they do not want to get spied for what they do online.

AT&T’s GigaPower is a superfast internet service that lets the customers download 25 songs in a fraction of a second. It relies on fiber-optic cables that carry data faster than the traditional copper wires.

The speed comes at a cost – $139 per month. Clubbing the television and phone services, the cost will further add up to another $60. If you wish for a cheaper cost for the same service, it is available at $110, however, you may want to let AT&T monitor your browsing habits.

How Privacy is turned into Money?

AT&T would simply trade the data of browsing habits of its customers to the advertisers by directing the web browsing history to an in-house traffic scanning program. The program will analyze the data and comes out with results that will help the advertisers to send targeted ads to the websites customers visit, send personalized emails to their inbox or even direct mails to their home addresses. Naturally, advertisers will pay more when their ads are heavily targeted only to those who are interested in their products.

Google too does a similar spying by monitoring the activities customers do on Google services. However, AT&T’s monitoring is massive, covering all the activities of customers. For a consolation, the company promises that they will not reveal the personal information received to any third party.

The Science Behind it

Although there are no definite answers of the exact technology AT&T makes use to route the browsing histories, tech geeks predict it to be Deep Packet Inspection. It simply means that the traffic from a computer would go through the AT&T systems before reaching the rest of the internet. Hence, changing your browsing settings, clearing cookies, using ad blocks, nothing would keep your web browsing data private.

AT&T stays away from press to provide an exact information on technology, except that ‘they use various methods to collect web browsing information’. The company also says that it is looking at everything except encrypted traffic, i.e., websites having HTTPS. However, there is every possibility that AT&T can even watch the HTTPS. AT&T can recognize that the customer has sent HTTPS traffic to a specific website. Opening of an encrypted link to a shopping website followed by email is a hint that the customer has actually purchased something.

Is it Legally Viable?

As far as the legal aspects of privacy are analyzed, AT&T gets it right. The internet laws in United States permits the service providers for the privacy breach if the activity is already informed to the customer. Here, the customer who sign up for $110 GigaPower are known of the fact that they are being monitored. Those who do not want to be monitored will opt for $139 service pack.

The company targets those who die for high speed, which is a prominent requisite in today’s world. Besides the online gamers and those who use video services, there are even medical needs like teleradiology that demands faster internet.

GigaPower is already on the run across six markets in US, including Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina. Expansion plans have 10 more markets in sight for the coming months. This new business strategy is soon to be adopted by the rest of the service providers, which means it is high time for the customers to decide what they value more – privacy or money.

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7 Comments on "Global: Trade Privacy for Money, says AT&T"

 

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Oni Ray
April 1, 2015 9:54 pm 9:54 PM

Three small words. Virtual. Private. Network. Plenty of free ones out there and even the paid ones cost a whole lot less than $30 a month (around $5-10). What’s more, a lot of ’em ACTUALLY take your privacy seriously.
Go to the following article on TorrentFreak to read more about the safest ways to maintain your privacy in the big bad virtual world – torrentfreak(dot)com/anonymous-vpn-service-provider-review-2015-150228/
Personally, I use Cyberghost VPN with Open DNS.

Sudhakar
April 1, 2015 9:27 pm 9:27 PM

Even if we pay 139$, what is the guarantee that AT&T will not spy?.

There are many ad blocking addons for firefox and opera. One of them is AD BLOCK PLUS.

vivek
April 1, 2015 9:05 pm 9:05 PM

Today a news was published on dainik bhaskar newspaper that unlimited bsnl 3g @ rs 240. Is it really true or false rumour….

sreenivasa reddy
April 1, 2015 9:41 pm 9:41 PM

Hey, BSNL launched special data pack @Rs.68 which offers 1 GB 3g internet with the validity of 10 days

vivek
April 1, 2015 10:30 pm 10:30 PM

But bsnl cc said there is no such plan by calling on 1800181503 toll free number, did you verify it. It will be helpful if Telecomtalk.info can verify it and publish a post on it.

Oni Ray
April 1, 2015 11:42 pm 11:42 PM

The 1GB @ Rs. 68 (10 days) plan is listed on BSNL’s Kolkata-specific website, but not on their Pan-India site. Strange! Is it just a Kolkata specific plan (unlikely) or the guys in charge of it’s pan-India web site just being lazy as usual?
Kolkata specific site – calcuttatelephones.com/MOB/Mobile_GSM3G_Data_Prepaid.shtml
Pan India site – bsnl.co.in/opencms/bsnl/BSNL/services/mobile/3g_prepaid_data_plan.html

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