What everyone once thought privacy was might be an outdated idea. With news swirling around the National Security Agency’s PRISM program along with the data collection that goes on at major tech and telecom companies, privacy concerns are blazing hot right now, and AT&T (NYSE:T) is set to show where it stands on privacy and what it means.
Companies selling the statistical information about their customers is not a new thing. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which have access to a wide variety of data on users, have been turning around with that data and selling it to companies that can use it for advertising or other such activities. Both sites have access to a wealth of data on users history and internet activity, which can be valuable in the right hands.
Phone companies have also been known to engage in this “big data” collection and sale. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has a business called Precision Market Insights, which sells information about users’ location and usage. It makes sense that companies would do this, too, as IDC estimates that the market for “big data” could be worth $24 billion by 2016.