No, Buying User Browser Histories is NOT an Option

There was a lot of talk about the recent law passed by congress that would allow ISPs, mobile companies, and others to sell the private browser history of users to third party companies. While many people are still very upset with the actual law, ISPs and mobile carriers are making it clear that they have nothing to worry about from them (at least for now).

Companies are quickly coming out with statements to assure their customers that they will not be selling any of this type of data. Gerard Lewis, who is Comcast’s Chief Privacy Officer, commented, “We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so.”

A  GoFundMe page started by “Supernatural” actor Misha Collins has raised more than $70,000 to “purchase the data of Donald Trump and every Congressperson who voted for [S.J.Res.34], and to make it publicly available.”

Another effort, by Cards Against Humanity co-founder Max Temkin, is being self-financed by Temkin and the game company to “do whatever we can” to acquire and publish the internet records of lawmakers. The idea attracted a massive 80,000 upvotes on reddit.

“If this doesn’t give supporters buyers’ remorse, then nothing will,” says Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., who spoke forcefully against repeal of the Federal Communications Commission privacy regulation that would have required customers to opt in before their browsing histories are sold.

Verizon and AT&T also quickly came out to say that they have not, do not, and have no plans to ever sell customer browsing data. Not surprisingly, many customers are not quite satisfied with the promises of these companies as their policies could change at any time.

Of course, selling private data was technically permitted by the FCC until recently when the FCC made the rule, which congress is now trying to overturn.

Whether people’s concerns are justified or not, at least for now it seems that everyone’s private browsing data is safe from being sold.

One Response

What's your opinion?