ATTLogoPriceThe LA Times recently wrote a story about the struggles that AT&T forces onto customers who want even the slightest semblance of privacy. As the writer puts it, customers trying to opt out of numerous privacy options from AT&T encounter a “myriad of decisions…if they seek to protect their privacy.”

And it is getting worse…..

Instead of using the DirecTV deal as an opportunity to simplify its privacy policy, AT&T has created a more challenging process for opting out of marketing pitches from the company and its partners and for escaping AT&T’s watchful gaze as you traverse the Internet. – LA Times

In fact, if you want to opt out of AT&T’s many, many privacy stalking programs, it is quite simple really….just go to an AT&T Web page and opt out individually from 21 separate online ad companies. But, you are not done. Now, you must repeat this 21-step plan “on each computer browser you wish to exclude.”

EFF
EFF

So, let’s say that you have Safari, Firefox and Chrome on your computer. Then, let’s say that there are a total of 3 computers in your house. Oh, and two mobile phones (I am including my families devices…not just me)…..which count as separate devices that need to be opted out.

That means that I would only need to opt out of 315 separate online ad forms. Oh, and did I mention that clearing your cookies “might” put me back to the beginning?

AT&T, however, says that if you clear out any cookies, “you’ll need to perform the opt-out procedure again” because the company will forget your privacy preference for that particular browser or device.” – LA Times

Translation: We are intentionally making this as difficult as possible so that we can charge you ridiculously expensive amounts of money for your monthly service and to make additional money off your name, age, address and other personal information.

ATTPayWebPrivacyBut is anyone really surprised that AT&T does this? Need I remind people of the absurdity that AT&T places on 1 Gbps “Gigapower” service customers wanting to opt out of the privacy preferences? Mind you, AT&T’s Gigapower privacy preference allow the telecom to “use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.” But as GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham found out, trying to get off these preference was borderline impossible….and expensive.

Higginbotham noted that not only did AT&T make the option very difficult to find, it would actually cost users between $49 and $60 per month to opt out of…..Keeping your web history out of Ma Bell’s hands would have cost almost $800 the first year you signed up at the high-end and $531 at the low-end of ordering only internet. – GigaOM

Then there is AT&T finishing last or near last in most customer privacy reports. Or AT&T being unable to get their mobile payment service off the ground due to privacy concerns.