AT&T phasing out mobile tracking cookies2014-11-17 11:00 by Daniela
AT&T has announced that it would stop using "perma cookies" to track its customers. Previously, the company had used this technology to show targeted and relevant ads to its mobile internet users based on their activities by using an undetectable identification number and every user's internet connection passed through this Unique identifier Header (UIDH) to send the data to the carrier.
"It has been phased off our network," an AT&T spokeswoman said. "We have been testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices as an important protection against unauthorized tracking. It would be used to help serve ads on an anonymous basis. It plays a similar role to a cookie in online advertising. Some people have seen this code from our testing when they visit test sites."
Tracking codes have become popular recently as a way to track users and their devices. They do not necessarily contain personal information, each user has a unique code that helps websites efficiently manage users (like cookies).
Not only AT&T has been using cookies to track users. Verizon is also experimenting with super cookies.
"As with any program, we are continuously evaluating and this is no different," said a Verizon spokeswoman, who also added that the use of identifiers like these are not restricted to wireless carriers.
One difference between the programs of the two carriers is that AT&T allows its customers to opt out of the advertiser data sharing program, while Verizon don't. Yet, it is unclear whether Sprint and T-mobile - the third and fourth largest mobile providers, use these codes.
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