While this is really no different from sites and services that give you something free if you take ads with it, or ask you to pay for the "no ads premium" version, maybe the better way to position this would be to offer users a discounted fee of $70 a month if they accept AT&T's snooping. The way it is sounds now is that you are being financially penalized if you want privacy.
According to a recent post, unlike with other ISPs, customers can’t thwart AT&T's data collection through cookie settings or private browsing, since the company is drawing the data right from its fiber connection. Which certainly gives one pause before doing a little video chat in the buff with that special someone across the country.
I think the underlying problem is that consumers never really know how much Internet companies know about them. Years ago it was possible to look at enough search terms to construct a pretty accurate (if allegedly "anonymous") profile of any single individual. The NSA, thanks only to the Snowden disclosures, gave us all a chill with the depth and breadth of its data collection. Long gone are the days when ad-tech companies could claim that they don't collect any PII. They always have, but said that they didn't need it to serve you "ads and offers tailored to your interests."
Then along comes the Frappening scandal, where photos saved to mobile phones and allegedly secure SnapChat photos are plastered across the Internet. And suddenly the digital age is not so much fun anymore (or more fun, depending on which side of the camera you were on).
Both online and mobile are so ingrained in our lives and have become so essential, there’s little chance folks are going to abandon these services. But what they are going to do is complain to guys in Washington who have little to no idea how their legislation might trample otherwise perfectly legitimate business models and start-ups. As my old man used to say, "It rains on the just and the unjust."
For years the small part of the ad-tech industry that is playing by the rules has urged the entire industry to be more transparent, letting consumers know exactly what companies know about them. The reason most companies haven't done this is that they know more about you than they want you to know. Look at all the fish caught in the infamous Wall Street Journal "What They Know" series net.
One would have thought that after these repeated privacy-related body blows, consumers would be less passive about data collection. Or have we all decided that the convenience of digital media is a fair trade for privacy? Only your legislators know.