AT&T’s Pledge to Protect You: What Should Other Companies Do?

AT&T has pledged to protect their customers information during their online experience, as well as provide customers and visitors who visit their site with more control over their information and if it is shared. What should other companies do? Share your thoughts with Identity Theft Secrets.

AT&T Pledges To Protect Internet Users Privacy
Mike Sachoff | Staff Writer
Says others should do the same
AT&T is calling on all companies that track and collect data on Internet users search and browsing activity to give consumers more control over how their online habits are collected and used.
“While we have no immediate plans to offer online behavioral advertising we believe that a key dimension of any such program would be to give customers significant control over collection and use of their search and Web browsing data for online advertising purposes, by requiring their advance affirmative consent,” said Dorothy Attwood, Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T, testifying before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
“Over the past several months we have talked with consumers about what they want and expect from any company using their online information to provide behavioral advertising,” Attwood said.
“Based on that input, we pledge to uphold a few simple principles in the design of any online behavioral advertising program we may deliver in the future.”
Attwood said AT&T would seek permission from its customers before collecting and using their information for online behavioral advertising. AT&T would have transparent information about what the company would collect and use for online behavioral advertising.
Customers will be able to opt in or out of any AT&T behavioral advertising program. Their identities will be protected no matter what choice they make about being part of any behavioral advertising campaign.
Attwood pointed out that privacy issues are not only related to ISPs. “While this pledge represents AT&T’s commitment, there are many other companies with access to information about online users, many of which collect large volumes of data every day for advertising purposes without the knowledge or affirmative consent of those users.”
“Only when all companies that track and collect data for the purpose of delivering behavioral advertising — including search engines, advertising networks and ISPs — adopt similar commitments to transparency, customer control and privacy will Internet users have more confidence in the privacy of their online experience,” said Attwood.
Imagine, getting info without having to give any! I spent many years working for a university, that required you to “tailor” your experience with your name and information, to get information from the school. At the time, it was considered great marketing. The information was supposed to be limited to use by the university, but do you wonder like I do, that if the information IS THERE, even if the business doesn’t sell it or make it available, maybe it still is available to those who shouldn’t have it?
What do you think? Should more companies be required to protect their customers privacy? What are the advantages to this system? How can we know our information is safe online and still get the services we need? Is AT&T setting a standard? Share with us your thoughts.