“What’s one piece of your privacy worth? About a dollar a day, suggests telecom giant AT&T,” Dan Gillmor writes for The Guardian. “The company’s latest internet service offering in Austin, Texas comes in two flavors. The company might as well call them the ‘some privacy’ and ‘no privacy’ services. The cheaper version gives customers a discount in return for being targeted more intrusively than ever by user-specific advertising.”

Gillmor writes, “Let me explain: the company’s Austin experiment is a test to see what a specific market will bear in highly specific conditions. AT&T is offering some Austin neighborhoods its ‘U-verse with GigaPower’ product, which comes in $99 per month “standard” and $70 per month ‘premier’ editions, the latter requiring an agreement to let AT&T ‘use your individual web browsing information, like the search terms you enter and the web pages you visit, to tailor ads and offers to your interests.’”

“We need laws, with teeth, that stop these companies from treating us all like mice in experimental labs. We also need end-to-end encryption of everything we do online,” Gillmor writes. “(VPNs are useful for now, but not the ultimate solution.) Until that happens, we need to recognize that the internet industry is much more interested in its bottom line than our privacy. For now, if I have to buy some privacy – and decide I can trust the promises companies make – I’ll do so, gladly.”

Read more in the full article here.

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AT&T’s gigabit service is $70 per month if you let it track your searches, Web site visits – December 11, 2013