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AT&T Responds To Behavioral Advertising Allegations

AT&T reiterated Monday that it does not engage in behavioral advertising as an Internet service provider, and will look into ways to let customers know how data is being used when AT&T is an advertiser.

"As an ISP, we do not track our customer's data across unrelated websites to create a profile for behavioral advertising, or hire other firms to do so on our behalf," the company said in a statement. "Our relationship with this firm (] is as an advertiser of AT&T products and services. News reports suggesting that we are engaging in behavioral advertising by selling information of our customers is flat wrong."

AT&T went on to say that it was looking for "the best way we can meaningfully communicate to our customers about data use even when we are acting as an advertiser."

AT&T also pointed out that it had told Congress last summer that it did business with online advertisers and search engines as a publisher and advertiser.

AT&T was responding to stories and a letter from California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo following a Hill hearing last week on behavioral advertising. There was some confusion following testimony of AT&T Chief Privacy Officer Dorothy Attwood.

Eshoo sent a letter to AT&T looking to pin down exactly what AT&T's policy on behavioral advertising is, including when it began using behavioral advertising as a client, what data those vendors collected, whether it no longer engages in behavioral advertising as an advertiser.