FCC & FTC Asked to Protect Mobile Consumer Privacy in AT&T/T-Mobile Merger
Dear Chairmen Leibowitz and Genachowski:
We respectfully request your agencies to address the privacy and consumer protection issues raised by the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. As you know, mobile and location marketing are quickly reshaping the digital landscape, unleashing a powerful data collection and hyper-local targeting system. A broad range of individual consumer data, involving their finances, health interests, Web browsing, instant messaging, and location, is increasingly gathered. By combining both the subscriber and “mobile Web” actions of its 130 million subscribers, a combined AT&T and T-Mobile will be able to harvest and act upon deep insights gleaned from their users’ behaviors, location, spending patterns, and social actions.
Driving this deal is a recognition that mobile phones are ushering in a significant transformation of how consumers navigate the Internet, allowing for unprecedented merging of online, offline, and location information on a consumer. Mobile phones are becoming always-on sensors, creating a full 360-degree view of people’s mobile consumption. While mobile marketing practices raise concerns from others in the industry, we believe that the specific practices of AT&T, in the light of its proposed T-Mobile deal, should be scrutinized and addressed by policymakers. Through its combination with T-Mobile, AT&T will have access to greater amounts of financial information on subscribers as they engage in mobile commerce...
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