AT&T’s New Privacy Policy: We Know You Inside and Out

In a new privacy policy released today, AT&T admits it knows a lot about its customers, but it’s not using that information for any nefarious purposes.

The company, like many who collect information online, has been accused in the past of using deep-packet inspection as a basis for creating targeted advertising. The phone giant specifically addresses that in this new policy, saying it’s not happening, and it will ask permission before it does so.

AT&T says being clear about its privacy policy will help it build better trust with its customers. It may also help cool some anger about the phone giant’s cooperation on warrantless wiretapping.

The policy, which takes effect in 45 days, spends significant time talking about location information. It spells out that it knows where you are when you make a call and shows ads for businesses when you check location-information services. It can be seen as convenient or Big Brother-ish. Either way, AT&T is letting you know where it stands.

The company says it knows a lot about you, including who you call, what sites you visit on the Web and much more. It has set only a few limits. AT&T won’t sell your personal information to other parties. And you can take some control of your privacy by sending an e-mail asking the company to keep you off its mailing list.

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