How to stop your mobile phone company from sharing your personal data
Not all cell phone companies have their customers’ best interests in mind, especially when it comes to selling your sensitive data to the highest bidder.
We were reminded about that recently when we learned T-Mobile is planning to automatically start sharing customer data with advertisers later this month, unless customers explicitly opt-out. That means the websites you visit, the apps you use, and your online activity could be used to target you with ads.
The good news for CREDO customers: We don’t share your cell phone usage data with advertisers. In fact, data privacy is at the core of our business, and CREDO customers can rest assured that we take your privacy very seriously.
But if you or a loved one are on another mobile network, here are some ways you can opt-out of these invasive and intrusive data sharing policies and help protect yourself from third-party advertisers.
Customer privacy is at the core of CREDO’s business
First thing’s first: If you’re a CREDO customer, your data is not for sale. Period. We take your data privacy seriously, unlike other mobile carriers. Here’s how we’re different:
- CREDO became the first mobile phone company in 2014 to issue a transparency report, and we’ve continued to issue transparency reports every quarter. You can read our latest transparency report here.
- CREDO was the only mobile phone company to earn a five-star rating from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for our policies protecting your data from government requests.
- CREDO has donated nearly $15 million to nonprofit organizations fighting to protect your civil liberties, digital rights, and civil rights — groups like EFF, Media Justice, Free Press, the ACLU, and Fight for the Future (who you can vote for this month).
The best way to help protect your data or a friend’s data from advertisers and the government is by joining CREDO Mobile.
But if you’re on another network, here are some steps you can take to try to stop your cell phone company from sharing some of your data with advertisers.
This is particularly frustrating for former Sprint customers, who prior to the merger had to opt-in — not opt-out — to the company’s data sharing program. Here’s more information from Mashable about the data T-Mobile is likely to share.
If you’re on T-Mobile, here’s how to opt-out:
- Visit https://www.t-mobile.com/ and log in to your account.
- Click on My account > Profile > Privacy and Notifications > Advertising & Analytics
- Toggle off the two options that say “Use my data for analytics and reporting” & “Use my data to make ads more relevant to me”
AT&T is notoriously awful when it comes to protecting customer data.
The company has been called one of the NSA’s “most trusted partners,” when it was revealed that AT&T hosted “wiretap rooms” in eight cities where the NSA skimmed data as it passed through their networking equipment. The Daily Beast also revealed that AT&T had been collecting and selling huge databases of consumer data to law enforcement agencies without a warrant and collecting millions in taxpayer money.
And of course, in addition to certain opt-in data sharing programs, AT&T also “automatically enroll(s) you in their other advertising programs…[and] sells your data to third parties to target you with ads,” according to Recode at Vox.
If you’re on AT&T, here’s how to opt-out:
- Go to AT&T’s “Consent Dashboard” (you may have to log into your account)
- Click on Relevant Advertising
- Toggle “Allow use” to “No.”
If you live in California, you can also explicitly tell AT&T not to sell your personal information by filling out this form.