Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Comcast Says it Won't Sell Your Web Browsing History

Comcast Says it Won't Sell Your Web Browsing History

America's largest internet providers have promised that they will not sell their customer's personal browsing histories, with the likes of Comcast, Verizon Communications and AT&T making the pledge. The US president has signed a resolution rolling back FCC privacy rules, meaning that ISPs are now free to share and sell customers' browsing histories without express permission.

He insists the bill could allow internet providers to sell information about their customers' browsing habits. The FCC, under former President Barack Obama, in October enacted rules that required broadband providers to get their customers' consent before they could share "sensitive" information about them with marketers and other third parties.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Scott Walker.

The denials that the companies would sell individual browsing history in particular leaves some wide leeway for what FCC regulations will permit selling.

The statements from Verizon, Comcast and AT&T follow the congressional vote to repeal federal regulation that would have prevented ISPs from selling consumers' personal information.

House Republicans narrowly obtained the repeal on grounds the rules would have held ISPs to tougher privacy standards than those encountered by Web companies.

Senate Joint Resolution 34 is frustrating for consumer advocates, who see the law as an way for ISPs to invade users' privacy by sharing their online behavior.

Representatives from AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast assured anxious customers that they will not sell their users' browsing histories to the highest bidder.

Republican FCC commissioners also seem happy with the repeal as they said that the Obama rules would have given an unfair ability to websites to harvest more data than the IPs, reported the publication. "We did not do it before the FCC's rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so".

She did, however, acknowledge two initiatives using Web browsing data: one that makes marketing to customers more personalized; and another that gives advertisers aggregate insights.

Chris Lewis, vice president at public interest group Public Knowledge, said that "most Americans have only one choice for high-speed broadband service, and now these broadband monopolies can set their own privacy policies, change them on a whim, or leave us with no protections at all".

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