AT&T tracks the hell out of you, but you can pay to opt out

by Mary SmithFebruary 19, 2015

AT&T, one of the biggest carriers in the United States of America, has rolled out its new data plan in Kansas on Tuesday. While that’s not news, it did shed light on some worrisome and unfair practices of AT&T. The carrier has launched its 1 GB per second hyper-fast fiber-optic internet subscription last year, but just now has AT&T broadened the reach of the service to Kansas City. If the plan is sparking interest in your mind, you should know that you’re going to have to pay $70 a month to have it. What’s more is that you don’t just get fast internet for the money, as AT&T throws in a little extra to make us wonder more about how far surveillance by carriers is going right now.

AT&T ‘s new uber-fast internet access plan comes with a rather annoying extra-feature, according to the Wall Street Journal, which is not a feature for the user, it’s a feature for the company. If you opt for this subscription, AT&T will repay you by tracking your every move on the internet. Indeed, all your Google searches, all the websites you visit, occasional visits to DarkNet searching for some nudes your heard about being leaked from iCloud (khm), communicating with President Obama in secret on a supposedly secure server, using Yahoo Messenger (does anybody still use that btw?) and anything else you can think of. But hey, you get super-fast internet, so why does it matter that the CIA might knock on your door one day because you tried selling your old underwear on some obscure dark-net fetish site?

The good news is, AT&T was kind enough to offer an opt-out option for this neat little tracking feature. But it’s not free, like with many other carriers around the world who generally track you but let you opt out of it for no dollars. If you want your time on the web to be private, you’re going to have to pay AT&T an extra $29 each month, besides that $70 subscription for the internet itself. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? With this move, it looks like AT&T is discouraging people from having a private life on the internet, because who in their right mind would pay another $30 a month just to not be tracked? Let me rephrase that a bit: who in their right mind would fall for this? You can get the same internet speed, without the tracking feature from¬†CenturyLink for $80. although not in Kansas. But hey, Kansas has Google Fiber for the same price at the same speed! What’s more, in Kansas regular 5MBps internet from Google Fiber is free. Well, AT&T, your tactics are a bit aggressive, aren’t they?

How do you feel about the AT&T plan and the tracking it involves? Do you think it’s ok for the carrier to charge more if a user wants their own use of the internet to remain private? In my opinion, what you do on the internet is your own business, unless you have monetary gain from it. Naturally, things like abusive content, restricted access, hacking and stuff like that aren’t cool, but is it really the carrier’s responsibility to find out about them? Moreover, is it correct for a carrier to charge money to let you be anonymous? As if that wasn’t the whole idea behind the internet. As technology progresses, we’re seeing privacy go down the drain. To be fair, it’s our fault.


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About The Author
Mary Smith
Mary Smith
Hi fellow tech enthusiasts! I'm Mary. I enjoy writing about tech, but I love tinkering with gadgets more. If it can take a screwdriver, leave it to me to fix it (or brick it). I'm passionate about Android and I'm all in for Google, but I don't stray from Apple nor Windows, so I'll keep you up to date on everything mobile (or stationary).
  • Jessica Hanch

    So many companies tend to steal our privacy information and keep track of every conversation or interaction with others. All this data is than used to create personal profiles or they are sold to the highest buyer.

    • Indeed. It’s alarming and annoying at the same time. The sad thing about it is most internet users don’t even know, nor care about it.


    I get it to an extent……, but there does not need to be such a fiasco about it all. Phone tapping/scanning has been in effect since WWII, so it should not be of much surprise to people that this can and is happening today. Being in the service and tapping lines in Iraq with an interpreter on our Civil Affairs team was one of our tactics, but rarely paid off. Did that stop us from doing it of course not.

    Now I would almost guarantee that no one would have adverse reasoning behind this happening if it were actually solidifying our national security because that is the way I see it. Kind of like being on a plane and talking about a bomb, or having some sort of well thoughtout plan on doing ill will and it being intercepted before something horrible could take place. Kind of like someone who keeps frequenting mass murder sites, bomb making, weapon making and or anything else that could be percieved as “IMO” repetitive behavioral/mental patterns that raise red flags.

    Ones worries of being “looked at” would stem from wrong doings I would assume. Do not do wrong and you shouldn’t be worried. Just saying….

    • You have a good point and I agree with what you’re proposing, although I do think surveillance is wrong when performed like this. And I don’t think companies should charge money for privacy. First off, I think you don’t necessarily have to be doing something bad in order to want privacy on the internet. For example. Russia or China. Surveillance there mainly targets free speech, rendering political opinions that differ from the norm invisible, so to speak. Another, more close to home example, would be me. I write online and sometimes I write things that I don’t want tracked back to me, because some people might misunderstand things or interpret them incorrectly, especially when I’m writing fiction. At the same time, I would hate my conversations with business partners or even my boyfriend being intercepted. The first part is understandable, because I don’t want third-parties learning about my tactics and connections. The second part, well, things can be easily misunderstood. If one’s having a fight online about modding a PplayStation, third-parties might think it’s something you actually do for monetary compensation, even though you just happened to come across a modded unit. It’s a tricky affair, and opinions vary very much, so I can safely say I’m confused at times.


        Truly some good points that you have stated and I do agree with them.

        I just guess that since we know it happens and that it (more than likely) will never stop we as the consumer need to fight back. If you were to pay for their ability to keep your information private (not safe) it would cost you whatever they want to charge. I say just buy your own proxy net/server and throw everything through that, so they think you are in Guam and not wherever you actually are. Would probably be cheaper then paying that ONE company…..

        • Why haven’t I thought of that? It is the best course of action, thank you for reminding me. I agree when you say it will never stop. Can’t be any other way.