Your cell phone provider is selling your data. Here’s how to stop them.

Deanna Dewberry
Updated: March 10, 2021 07:17 PM
Created: March 10, 2021 04:53 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In consumer news, I’m taking a look at your privacy. T-Mobile has quietly made a change to its privacy policy that directly affects you.

The company is now going to share your web browsing data with advertisers unless you opt-out. And get this: They didn't announce the change. They didn't issue a press release. They didn't send customers an email or text. They were outed by some smart reporters at the Wall Street Journal.

The story came out on Tuesday. That's because some Wall Street Journal reporters did what few of us do. They actually read T-Mobile's new privacy policy. And they saw it in black and white. You now have to opt-out if you don't want the company sharing the apps you download and the sites you visit with third-party advertisers. And they changed the policy on Feb. 23.

When I read this in the Wall Street Journal, I was shocked. After all, T-Mobile and Sprint have merged, so as a Sprint customer, the policy also affects me. I should have gotten an email, right? I searched all my emails from Sprint since January. Nothing.

T-Mobile finally notified customers of the privacy policy change on Tuesday, the same day that the Wall Street Journal story broke.  

Verizon and AT&T also require you to opt-out. All the cell providers say the apps you download and the websites you visit can't be tied to you. Instead, the information is tied to a unique identifier.

But cybersecurity experts ask this crucial question: What happens when advertisers combine the stockpile of information from your cell phone with all that info from Facebook, Google and Amazon?

Cybersecurity experts warn your privacy could be at risk.

To opt-out, visit these links for each provider. Many users have complained online that it’s not easy, so I’ve provided directions.

  • T-Mobile
    • Open the T-Mobile app and click the “More, Advertising & Analytics” tab.
    • Scroll down to find “Use my data to make ads more relevant to me” and toggle it off.
    • Or, click here.
      • Under My account, click "Profile," then "Privacy and Notifications."
      • Find the “Advertising & Analytics” option and click that.
      • Scroll down to find “Use my data to make ads more relevant to me” and toggle it off.
  • AT&T
  • Verizon
    • Log on to Verizon's website.
    • Register for My Verizon.
    • Sign in and click the "Account" tab.
    • Select "Account Profile."
    • Scroll to the "Alerts and Preferences" section.
    • Click on "Manage Privacy settings" in the "Privacy Setting" section.
  • Sprint
    • On the Sprint website, choose “My Account,” then preferences.
    • Scroll to “All about my account.” 
    • Select the “manage advertising and analytics” option.
    • Find “Use my data to make ads more relevant to me” and toggle it off.


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