Comcast: We won’t sell browser history, and we can opt out of targeted ads

Comcast currently pronounced it has “no plans” to sell a customers’ particular Web browsing histories, yet Comcast can still deliver personalized ads based on a customers’ browsing history. Comcast, a nation’s largest home Internet provider, pronounced it will continue to offer business a approach to opt out of targeted ads.


“We do not sell a broadband customers’ particular Web browsing history,” Comcast Chief Privacy Officer Gerard Lewis wrote in a blog post today. “We did not do it before a FCC’s manners were adopted, and we have no skeleton to do so.”

Comcast operates a own promotion network, so it doesn’t need to share individuals’ browsing story with third parties in sequence to offer targeted ads. Instead, Comcast can use a customers’ browsing history to sell targeted ads. Businesses compensate Comcast to have their promotion strech people who are some-more expected to buy their products, yet usually Comcast would know accurately who those business are.

Comcast sells targeted ads on a possess websites “and other digital properties,” that would include NBC and several informal sports networks.

Comcast doesn’t share patron information per banking, children, and health “unless we initial obtain their affirmative, opt-in consent,” Lewis wrote.

“If a patron does not wish us to use other, non-sensitive information to send them targeted ads, we offer them a ability to opt out of receiving such targeted ads,” Lewis wrote. That “non-sensitive data” includes Web browsing information, a Comcast orator told Ars. But any Web browsing that relates to supportive information like a topics above would tumble underneath a some-more formidable opt-in category.

Comcast said that there has been a lot of “misinformation and false statements… finished in a final week,” so it is “revis[ing] a remoteness process to make some-more transparent and distinguished that, discordant to a many false statements and reports, we do not sell a customers’ particular Web browsing information to third parties and that we do not share supportive information unless a business have affirmatively opted in to concede that to occur.”

Comcast also said today that it complies with several sovereign and state laws per remoteness and information security.

But Comcast and other ISPs won’t have to approve with Federal Communications Commission manners that would have compulsory opt-in consent before controlling or sharing browsing and app use history. That’s given of House and Senate votes to discharge a FCC rules, an movement expected to be sealed by President Donald Trump.

Comcast, other Internet providers, and their run groups recently sealed a voluntary pledge to need opt-in agree before controlling or disclosing a many supportive information, but a oath usually requires opt-out systems for Web browsing history. That’s identical to a manners practical to online companies like Google and Facebook, yet Democrats in Congress upheld a FCC’s stricter manners for ISPs given a companies can see any customer’s whole browsing history. Democrats also argued that consumers should have a larger expectancy of remoteness with Internet service because it’s a subscription-based offering and formidable to switch Internet providers.

Republicans argued that stricter manners for ISPs would upset consumers and suppress foe in a promotion market. They pronounced a Federal Trade Commission should umpire ISP remoteness instead of a FCC yet did not take any evident movement to reinstate a FCC manners that are being eliminated.

ATT praises itself for remoteness practices

ATT’s open process chief, Bob Quinn, called Congress’ preference to discharge FCC remoteness manners “commendable work” in a blog post today.

“In truth, companies that collect and use a many patron information on a Internet are not a ISPs yet other Internet companies, including handling complement providers, Web browsers, hunt engines, and amicable media platforms,” Quinn wrote.

ATT used to assign fiber Internet business at slightest $29 a month extra if they did not opt in to browser story collection and personalized ads, yet a company stopped that program shortly before a FCC released a remoteness manners final year. ATT’s remoteness policy says that it collects “Web browsing and wireless focus information,” yet it adds, “we will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period.”

Quinn praised his association for writing a remoteness process “that communicated a practices to a business in difference that a consumer didn’t need a counsel to assistance decipher.”

Quinn likely that a FCC’s sequence of ISPs as common carriers will be rescinded and that a Federal Trade Commission “will resume controlling consumer broadband privacy, only as it has finished given a Internet was combined decades ago.” Quinn’s blog post did not discuss that ATT won a justice case in that it argued that a FTC has no management over any of ATT’s several lines of business. Unless Congress takes serve action, a FTC might have no power to umpire ATT and other phone companies even if a FCC drops a common conduit classification of Internet service.

Elsewhere in a blog post, Quinn criticized others for “untrue” statements.

It is “flatly wrong that a Congressional movement separated all authorised protections ruling use of consumer information,” he wrote. “For example, ATT and other ISPs’ actions continue to be governed by Section 222 of a Communications Act only as they were for a scarcely dual years that upheld between reclassification of Internet entrance as a Title II use and a thoroughfare of new manners final fall.”

ATT is a member of CTIA, a wireless run group, that claims that “Section 222 can't be extended to broadband service.” Section 222 governs common carriers generally, yet it was created for write networks in 1996 and creates no discuss of Internet service. The FCC manners would have finished it transparent accurately how Section 222 would be enforced on Internet service, yet a manners never took effect.

Since those manners never took effect, Quinn wrote, “We had a same protections in place a day before a Congressional fortitude was passed, and we will have a same protections a day after President Trump signs a [resolution] into law.”

UPDATE: Verizon today also posted a blog about its remoteness policy, observant it does not sell personal Web browsing story yet does use Web browsing information to sell personalized advertising. Verizon’s privacy policy provides information about opting out of those programs. Charter has also posted a similar blog.

Cox goes one step further, saying it “does not collect a particular Web browsing story of a business and has no skeleton to do so.”


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