The Importance of Opting Out of CPNI Data Sharing

Let’s talk about a topic that’s incredibly important for your privacy and data security. In this blog I’m going to talk about why you should opt out of the sharing of CPNI data and why that seemingly simple annual email from your mobile phone provider is more significant than you might think.

What is CPNI?
CPNI stands for Customer Proprietary Network Information and it refers to the information generated by your use of telecommunication services. This includes things like phone numbers you’ve called, phone calls you’ve received, the time and date of those calls, and even your location data.

Your mobile phone provider uses CPNI data for billing and account management, service improvement, fraud prevention, and of course, for marketing and promotions. It’s essentially a goldmine of your personal information when it comes to your mobile phone usage.

Vague Definitions
What you may find interesting is that the biggest mobile phone providers in the U.S. – Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile – all have vague definitions of what’s considered CPNI data. For example, T-Mobile says they collect phone numbers called, date and time of calls, number of minutes on call, phone related purchases like call waiting, and international calling. Verizon states that CPNI data includes services purchased, including specific calls you make and receive, related local and toll billing, the type, destination, technical configuration, location, and amount of use of purchased services.

The Importance of Opting Out
Now, you might have noticed that your mobile phone provider sends you an email once a year about opting out of CPNI data sharing. You might be tempted to ignore it, but I strongly recommend against that. This email is crucial because it’s your opportunity to take control of your data and protect your privacy. Keep in mind, the Federal Communications Commission actually requires that your mobile phone provider obtain your consent before sharing your CPNI data.

Why should you opt out of CPNI?
Well, when you don’t opt out, your mobile phone provider can share your CPNI data with their parent companies, affiliates, and agents. Yes, you heard that right. They can give away your call history, your phone usage, and even your location information to these companies. And guess what? These affiliates use that data to target you with ads, promotions, and other marketing materials.

For example, if you’re an AT&T customer, if you don’t opt out of CPNI, DirecTV, who happens to be an AT&T affiliate, can target you with ads and other marketing material. But here’s the thing, your personal data should be just that, personal. You shouldn’t have to worry about who has access to your call history or where you’ve been. Opting out of CPNI is one way to reclaim control over your own information.

How to Opt Out?
Depending on your mobile phone provider, it can be fairly straightforward or a pain in the ass. When you receive that annual CPNI email from your mobile phone provider, read it carefully. They will provide you with instructions on how to opt out, typically involving clicking a link or sending a response to a designated email address. But depending on your provider, it can get a little more complicated.

For AT&T customers, it’s pretty easy. Just go to Put in your billing account number and your zip code and you’re done.

For Verizon customers, it’s a little more complicated. First, you’ll need to go to Then you’ll need to follow some navigation instructions from there to actually opt out. Alternatively, you can also opt out by calling 1-800-333-9956 and following the recorded directions. Or you can call 1-800-922-0204 to reach their customer service representative department who can process your opt out for you.

Lastly, for T-Mobile customers, go to for more details on how to opt out by logging into their privacy dashboard.

Protect Your Privacy!
Opting out of CPNI data sharing is a small action that can make a big difference in protecting your privacy. Don’t let your personal information be used for marketing without your consent. Take that email from your mobile phone provider seriously and opt out to keep your data where it belongs – with you.

Remember, your privacy matters.

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