US wireless carrier AT&T has revealed in a recent statement that it has discontinued the use of the controversial technology which involved the addition of unique identifiers that underscored a smartphone tracking system.
The tracking mechanism – Relevant Advertising – put in place by AT&T essentially added an undetectable identification number to all Internet traffic on the cellphones of the users. Since the identification number helped mark all the sites visited by AT&T customers, advertisers could build up profiles on users by following the website trail he or she would visit.
Privacy advocates had raised concerns about the use of unique identifiers by AT&T because the smartphone tracking system could give advertisers the ability to seriously invade and misuse the private data of smartphone owners using the AT&T network.
Revealing that the use of the controversial technology has been stopped by AT&T, company spokeswoman Emily Edmonds said that AT&T subscribers who do not want to be included in the carrier’s new smartphone tracking system have the choice of opting out of the program.
With regard to the opt-out option, Edmonds said that AT&T’s Relevant Advertising opt-out site is still live, although the company does not currently have a Mobile Relevant Advertising program. Edmonds asserted that the opt-out site gives users the possibility of opting-out in the case of future tracking situations.