User privacy on the Internet has become a hot button issue in both politics and technology in recent years. Last month, some security researchers discovered that AT&T had been tracking numbers to the web traffic coming from their customers’ phones, in order to keep an eye on their online habits. But AT&T has completely denied the allegation.
In late October, security researchers discovered that the carrier, along with its competitor Verizon, were using unique identifying numbers or “perma-cookies” to track their customers online habits. But lately, AT&T has mentioned Associated Press (AP) that it is no longer using permanent cookies to track its subscribers.
A spokesperson for AT&T said that the tracking practice was part of a pilot program to improve targeted marketing called “Relevant Advertising.” But now the “experiment is over”, and it has “pulled the identifying numbers” from their customers’ accounts.
On the other hand, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Debra Lewis has mentioned that “as with any program, we’re constantly evaluating, and this is no different.” That means, Verizon is still tracking customers. Lewis has also mentioned that business and government customers are not being tracked, and customers can opt-out of the tracking service using a form on its website at anytime, but that won’t stop their identifying code from being inserted in the URL of websites they visit. Users who want to check to see if they are being tracked by their carrier can visit this website from their mobile device.