Often perception is more dangerous than actual fact. The Register, a UK based technology publication, announces AT&T included a small tracking device in the popular Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call page-- the article raises suspicious concerns of the relationship between AT&T and the commission (FTC). AT&T has a lot to lose from changing in telemarketing law, Is this a conspiracy?
Here are the facts as presented:
AT&T is a long time hosting provider to the FTC,
AT&T included tracking code on the Do-Not-Call registry,
AT&T provides local and long distance services to telemarketers,
While this opens up for all kinds of conspiracy theories, here are some possible explanations for the tracking code. Some are wild, while others make good sense.
AT&T was contracted by the FTC to provide traffic analysis support. Since AT&T hosts many of FTC's properties, they are likely providing this type of analytical services.
AT&T is collecting details about do-not-call requests for their own marketing. It would save them lots of money to purge these requests now rather than when required by law.
AT&T is monitoring the site to conform to an availability contract. In the beginning the site was overwhelmed with visitors that was making it crash, this would prompt such tracking.
AT&T is collecting demographic information to gain a competitive advantage over other telemarketing organizations. Details like regional density of Do-Not-Call requests would help focus telemarketing efforts in more accepting markets.
AT&T is associating phone numbers to email addresses in their databases. While they couldn't technically use this information, it would be valuable to sell to other marketers.