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Comcast pledges to respect customers' privacy

However, it supported the repeal of new FCC privacy rules

This story has been updated to reflect that AT&T and Verizon also claim they do not intend to track users around the Internet.


Comcast is seeking to distance itself from the other internet service providers (ISP) that lobbied Congress to roll back internet privacy protections.

While it was supportive of the effort to remove the newly-imposed regulations, Comcast says it has no intention of selling customers' web browsing histories and will continue to protect consumers' privacy.

In a blog posting, Gerard Lewis, Comcast's senior privacy officer, said the company has never sold web browsing histories and doesn't plan to start, even if it's legal to do so.

"Comcast has committed to privacy principles that are consistent with the FTC’s privacy regime which has applied to all entities in the Internet ecosystem for over 20 years and which continues to apply to internet edge companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon," Lewis wrote. "We believe this commitment is legally enforceable in multiple ways, including by state attorneys general."

Calls current privacy rules 'overreaching'

However, Comcast did join with other ISPs to urge the overturning of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) privacy rules, which Lewis describes as "overreaching." He says much of the discussion about the Congressional move has been misleading.

"Our privacy commitments to our customers go even beyond this protection of sensitive information that has dominated the dialogue this week," Lewis wrote. "If a customer does not want us to use other, non-sensitive data to send them targeted ads, we offer them the ability to opt out of receiving such targeted ads."

He also said Comcast continues to comply with federal laws protecting privacy, such as the Communications Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Privacy concerns

Last week, both the House and Senate approved a measure reversing the Obama administration's internet privacy safeguards, drawing a sharp rebuke from various consumer and privacy organizations.

"The vote in Congress to repeal the broadband privacy rules, allowing internet service providers to spy on their customers and sell their data without consent, is a terrible setback for the American public," said Susan Grant of the Consumer Federation of America. "It does provide an opportunity for President Trump, however. He can show that he is on the side of the people by vetoing this measure."

Trump, however, is expected to sign it. The rules currently in place were drafted to prevent ISPs from recording customers' actions, putting the information in databases, and selling access to marketers and others.

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