AT&T pulls 'supercookie' tracking code after backlash

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AT&T Pulls 'Supercookie' Tracking Code After Backlash

Well, that didn't take long - AT&T has pulled a secret ID code it used to track people's internet activity on their phones less than a month after the code's existence came to light.

They're known as "supercookies," and they basically let the carriers see all of the places a user went online, and there wasn't really anything users could do to stop it. Verizon also uses them.

The fact that the carriers were using this ID didn't even come out until the end of October.

Forbes reported researchers discovered the code because it wasn't just the carrier which could see it - websites and third parties could access the code as well.

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AT&T pulls 'supercookie' tracking code after backlash
In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T is being sued by the government over allegations it misled millions of smartphone customers who were promised unlimited data but had their Internet speeds cut by the company — slowing their ability to open web pages or watch streaming video. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Traders gather at the post that handles AT&T on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, May 19, 2014. Priming itself for the age of Internet-delivered video, AT&T Inc. said it would buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion in cash and stock, or $95 per share. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
This photo made July 19, 2010, shows the AT&T logo on the side of a corporate office in Springfield, Ill. AT&T Inc., the country's largest telecommunications provider, said Thursday, July 22, 2010, that its earnings rose 26 percent in the latest quarter and raised its forecast for the year, helped by its iPhone-fueled wireless arm. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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While AT&T reportedly just started using the code recently, Verizon has been using it for as long as two years, and while AT&T is backing off, Verizon isn't.

ProPublica reported on Friday an AT&T spokesperson said the code had been "phased off" of the carrier's network. A Verizon spokesperson said its program would continue.

For its part, AT&T told ProPublica the code had been used as part of an unspecified test which had been completed, but didn't offer up many more details besides that.


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