AT&T is testing a new deal in its Austin, Texas market in an attempt to get fewer customers to opt out of targeted ad tracking.
In select regions of Austin, customers can choose the vaguely named “Internet Preferences” option when they sign up for the GigaPower U-Verse high speed Internet package. The option takes $US29 off the $US99 per month plan, in exchange for permission to sell the user’s web browsing history to advertisers.
As AT&T describes it:
If you search for concert tickets, you may receive offers and ads related to restaurants near the concert venue.
After you browse hotels in Miami, you may be offered discounts for rental cars there.
If you are exploring a new home appliance at one retailer, you may be presented with similar appliance options from other retailers.
So while their description of targeted advertising is pretty transparent, they don’t mention that some more unsavory browsing (read: watching porn or any other weird stuff) can get logged as well.
But AT&T will not be selling personal information along with the browsing data.
Users who decide to pay a little extra for less intrusion will still have their information tracked by AT&T.
“We keep your personal information only as long as needed for business, tax, or legal purposes,” AT&T spokesperson Fletcher Cook told Forbes.
AT&T’s experiment comes at a time when tech giants Google, Apple, and Microsoft are finding new ways to track users through mobile to provide advertisers with increasingly detailed information.
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