T-Mobile will start automatically enrolling customers in an ad targeting program

Subscribers will need to go out of their way to opt out if they don't want the carrier to collect their data.

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People walking by a T Mobile store in Manhattan.
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If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber, you’ll soon be automatically enrolled in a program that will see your online and device usage data sold to advertisers. In a privacy policy update spotted by The Wall Street Journal, the carrier said it would start sharing that information with marketing agencies starting April 26th unless customers opt out. “We’ve heard many say they prefer more relevant ads so we’re defaulting to this setting,” a spokesperson for T-Mobile told the WSJ. The new policy will include everyone who came over to T-Mobile through the carrier’s 2020 merger with Sprint. That’s notable because Sprint previously allowed its customers to opt into sharing their data with advertisers.

T-Mobile’s decision to enroll as many of its customers as possible in a program that sells their data to advertisers runs counter to what we’ve seen from tech giants like Google and Apple recently. It was only earlier this month the former said it would stop selling ads that rely on a person’s browsing history, and not build any cross app tracking tools in the future. Apple, meanwhile, will soon require developers to explicitly obtain a person’s permission before they track them across websites and applications. It’s even a step beyond the data collection AT&T and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) currently run. While both carriers automatically enroll their subscribers in programs that pool them into shared interest groups, as an AT&T or Verizon customer, you don’t have to go out of your way to prevent your wireless provider from sharing more detailed information on you.

You can opt out of the advertising program by opening the T-Mobile app on your phone, tapping the “More” tab and then going into the “Advertising & Analytics” section. Switch the toggle next to the “Use my data to make ads more relevant to me” option to off.

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