Want Online Privacy? Pay the Man.

AT&T certainly knows how to take advantage of their customers. Last year, they started charging users to protect their privacy. Basically, if a customer did not wish to be spied on and wanted to opt out of AT&T’s Internet Preferences Program, AT&T charged them upwards of $800/year. In other words, AT&T put a very steep price on privacy.

After widespread criticism, AT&T stopped charging a privacy fee, but now that their merger is on the verge of approval, the company stated that the highly controversial charge may, in fact, return.

Although AT&T Senior Vice President Bob Quinn said in a recent interview that this policy will give customers more control and it is simply an “ad-supported Internet service,” this new pricing system actually gives consumers less control. It’s hard enough trying to understand the cost of privacy and what is at stake, try navigating the plethora of options to find the opt-out function.

With less regulatory oversight than ever, other companies may consider exploring this option. As is often the case with telecommunications companies, the consumer is usually the victim of unethical business practices.

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