VERIZON AND ATT ARE TRACKING SOME PHONES by inserting a piece of code into EVERY web request your phone makes. And the places you GO can track it, TOO.
(CLICK ON THE LINKS, THEY’RE REALLY INFORMATIVE!)
First, a terminology correction….this thing isn’t an “advertising header” (ATT), it’s a “Unique Identifier Header” (Verizon), in the sense that it’s tracking everything you do on the web, and providing that info to ANYONE able to capture the header (everyone), and allowing those sites to gather that data in one place and get a VERY clear view of you and what you do with your phone on the web.
(Quick plug for an app that I use to aggregate news stories I’m interested in called “Zite“, this thing is the bomb for finding news I care about and I recommend it highly, tho it appears to cause SOME memory leaks on my phone according to an Apple Genius who plugged some little doo-dad into my phone at the store that told him all kinda cool stuff about my phone, and presumably me, since he didn’t want me to look over his shoulder and would NOT send me the report about MY phone, which I found really interesting, but that’s a whole other deal.)
I am being tracked, shocker.
When I sent that link around to a bunch of people, I got back word that some of them were NOT being tracked –
THAT got me wondering why.
Why NOT track some people and track others?
Hmmm….well, one thing might be our political views and how vociferous about them we are. I’m extremely motivated and aggressive about my political views (drrrr), the other fellow not so much….so would that play into it?
And honestly, I don’t know. But one could easily imagine that in this time of technology and NSA spying and corporate governmental takeover and erosion of free speech via erasing of privacy, that such a thing would be a trivial decision to make by those whose interests lie NOT with the public interest, but with their very very extremely rich overlords, in order to find yet one more way to track/commodify/ensnare/intimidate/control/restrain us/me/you/everyone/anyone.
One thing I know, this is NOT OK with me, and I want it to stop ASAP. So I’m gonna get in touch with ATT and let them know I’ll be moving to another provider if that thing isn’t turned off and I mean NOW.
I’ll let you know how that goes….
(Another BTW, just TRY reaching out to ATT if you’re on their GoPhone plan, and not a month to month contract plan. You’ll immediately understand that they REALLY don’t like you not allowing them to rape you for every nickel and dime they can, if you DON’T know what I mean, click that link to find out how hard you’re getting screwed, it’s a doozy that most people still don’t seem to know. Here’s another.)
So I think it’s going to be very tough to even get someone on the phone about this issue, much more so to get it changed.
Another related note….ATT wants you to think that this thing is about identifying and quantifying you and your preferences for their advertisers, (which, if truly their ONLY motivation, is still WAY NOT OK with me. I’m not the least bit interested in subsidizing them making money off of me by PAYING to be followed around everywhere I go just so someone can SELL me shit I don’t want/need!! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!)
“Take advertising, for example. The whole basis of that industry is to mislead and manipulate, to create desire where none existed before. The concept of a rational consumer may have made sense a hundred years ago, but it was posited before the advent of two essential advertising tools — mass media communications and public relations psychology.”
My last point being, if they plan on using my habits/needs/wants/interests/friends/family/sexual stuff/etc etc, then they can PAY ME FOR THAT, and TELL ME THEY’RE DOING IT!! Maybe we’ll make a deal, much like Google does; you give me a free phone that you can make money off of me with by selling my very specific info, or YOU DON’T SELL OR TRACK ANYTHING ABOUT ME, and I’ll pay for the phone.
THAT seems fair, and would allow everyone their own choice in the matter.
But I digress, usually, and often…
Something else to mention here, and that is that ATT is ALLOWING you to “opt-out” of this tracking.
As you can see, that’s a complete farce.
But this another kind of tracking, that’s what I’m talking about.
ATT has something they call ATT AdWorks Relevant Advertising, which is what they say this bit they stick into your http requests is for, and you can *allegedly* opt out of that, so let’s look at that…
As you see, it appears that this is a way to OptOut of their tracking you on sites….BUT…bullet points #2 and #3 make it clear that’s not the case, and that it will NOT get rid of the code they insert into your http requests, #2 because all it’s saying is that you’ll still be getting ads from them, they just won’t be designed to fit you based on the profile they will develop of you, (and NOT delete, I’d bet a finger on it), and #3 because they’re making it clear that whatever deal you make with ATT will NOT be honored by anyone else, so the implication is that the info will still be there in the header, and that the info will still be gathered by others, and further that ATT might not be using THEIR profile to send you tailored ads, but I’ll bet they’ll happily use OTHER company’s profile of you….to send you tailored ads….
Net effect, you still get tracked all over Kingdom Come by everyone, but you feel like you aren’t being tracked because you “opted out”.
And yes, a lot of people are that stupid or busy that they won’t pay attention.
So, you’re likely being tracked, in new ways that you haven’t been told about and likely wouldn’t allow if you were, and you can’t do a thing about it, unless you do.
Go to this site and find out if you have the tracker, then please let me know if you do or don’t will you? I have a feeling there’s more to this bit of code than just advertising, whatcha think?
UPDATE 5:15 pm 10/29 – It appears that opting out has worked for me at least, there is now nothing in my UID field at the testing site. YIPPEE!!