How to keep wireless carriers from selling your usage data

How you can opt out


AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have announced they will be selling "anonymized and aggregated" user data to third-party businesses and marketing companies. This data, known as Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), may include information such as your location, Web browsing history, technical configuration, mobile app usage and more. All three carriers will automatically opt all personal lines into these programs. MIT Corporate and Business lines will not be part of this program, according to these carriers.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint do let users opt out of these programs within their wireless account privacy settings. This will not stop the carriers from collecting the data but will protect your CPNI from being sold. For a better understanding of the carriers' programs and intentions, see "How Wireless Carriers Are Monetizing Your Movements" from MIT Technology Review. In addition, the FCC provides guidelines for protecting your telephone calling records.

How to Opt Out

Verizon Wireless Personal Accounts

  1. Go to http://www.verizonwireless.comand sign into your Verizon Wireless account. If you haven't created a Verizon Wireless account for your phone line, you'll need to do so.
  2. Once you're signed in, look on the left hand side of your screen for the "Manage Privacy Settings" button/link. Click on "Manage Privacy Settings."
  3. You'll be presented with various opt-out options. Each of the data collection programs should have a description. Go through the options and select either Don't Use or Don't Share for each line within your account.
  4. Save changes. Source: Abine.com

Or you can call Verizon Wireless directly — the CPNI Opt-Out phone number depends on your state. For Massachusetts consumers, it's 866-483-3885.

AT&T Wireless Personal Accounts

  1. Start by clicking the following link, which leads to AT&T's opt-out page:
    http://www.att.com/cmpchoice
  2. Log in with your phone number and password.
  3. You will now find yourself on AT&T's privacy settings page, which includes the following blurb: "Our External Marketing and Analytics Reports contain anonymous information about groups of our customers. You may choose to exclude the anonymous information from your accounts from these reports. Please log in to each one of your accounts to opt-out."
  4. Check the box next to each wireless phone line you wish to opt-out with.
  5. Click the "Submit" button Source: BGR.com

If your prefer, you can call AT&T at 1-800-331-0500 to opt out.

For more information, see AT&T's web page about CPNI and opting out.

Sprint Personal Accounts

Go to the Sprint website and log into your account, then follow the instructions on the "Manage mobile advertising and reporting preferences" page to opt out. Alternatively, you can call 1-855-596-2397 from your Sprint mobile device and follow the automated prompts to opt out.

T-Mobile Personal Accounts

T-Mobile does not currently collect and sell CPNI. If this changes in the future, IS&T will update its related Knowledge Base article.

Support
If you have questions or concerns regarding the use of your cellular data, contact your carrier. If you have questions about using your mobile device, send mail to mobile-help@mit.edu.


Topics: Data, Information Systems and Technology, iPhone, Android, smartphones, Staff

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