If you don’t want Apple collecting data on you and using it to target you with ads starting July 1st, you can opt out from “any device running iOS 4,” says AppleInsider. The opt-out is automatic when you hit up http://oo.apple.com from an iOS 4 device, and as far as I can tell you can’t undo it, so don’t click the link unless you really want to opt out. Also, it’s not working at the moment.
Nashville Electric Service (NES) decided it would be a good idea to round up each customer’s bill to the nearest dollar, then take that extra change to donate to charity. It’s a great idea, and since the total amount donated per year can’t exceed $11.88, it’s not a hardship on most people. But there are a few problems. First, NES chooses the charities, if that matters to you. What’s more troublesome is that NES plans to opt-in every customer when the program begins on January 2009 without asking for explicit permission—if you pay your electricity bill through NES, you’ll donate to their charities next year, thank you very much.
Last month we reported on Charter Communications’ plan to start tracking its users internet activity in order to serve more targeted ads. Charter claimed customers could opt-out of the service, but a reader reviewed Charter’s opt-out method and discovered that even if you said no, you would still be tracked. Yesterday Charter announced it was abandoning the program and will not track its customers’ activities after all—at least for the immediate future.
PC World has an overview of Loopt, which will begin testing location-based advertising via CBS Mobile in the near future. What’s notable about the service—aside from the fun concept of triangulating location via cell towers—is that Loopt and CBS Mobile “seem to have made most of the right choices for privacy.” That includes the service being opt-in instead of opt-out, and no personal data (such as account info or phone number) being sent back upstream. The targeted ads replace existing ads as well, so there’s not a location-based spammy increase in advertising with the service. This is the kind of advertising we “like”—localized, relevant, and anonymous on our side of things.
C writes in with another lesson on why you should check your statements frequently:Two years ago I purchased items for my grandchildren at KidsStuff.com. This month (March 2008) I found an $18.00 charge from them on my American Express card.