Hot on the heels of AT&T’s announcement about bringing its one-gigabit-per-second Internet service to Kansas City, comes news the company will also be charging its customers $29 per month to keep their browsing history private.
The “premier” service will be available for $70 per month, but would allow AT&T to track a user’s search terms and browser history in order to facilitate better ad targeting. If users wish to keep their history private, the same high-speed service will be offered without tracking for $99.
While this additional fee for privacy may seem exorbitant to some, AT&T has defended its pricing to the Wall Street Journal, saying ad targeting helps the company make more money. Therefore, any user wanting to opt out must pay a fee.
This model is similar the discounted Kindles sold by Amazon that show advertising. However, AT&T will be able to gather a far more comprehensive picture of a user’s browsing activities than other companies, since it is an Internet provider. While this information could prove lucrative for advertisers and Internet Service Providers, the lack of privacy will undoubtedly worry some users.