Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon all put out statements on Friday that they don’t sell individual browsing information and did not have plans to do so. The reports are obviously in response to recent votes by both the Senate and the House to reject the FCC’s broadband privacy rules issued last October. President Trump is expected to sign the measure into law, which would void the Commission’s rules requiring ISPs obtain customers’ consent in order to use and share their personal information.
“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,” Gerard Lewis, Comcast SVP, deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer, writes in a blog.
Lewis also points out that the operator has committed to privacy principles put out by a variety of ISP trade associations. Those principles, they say, are consistent with the FTC’s privacy regime applied to all entities in the internet ecosystem, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. “We believe this commitment is legally enforceable in multiple ways, including by state Attorneys General,” Lewis notes.
Further, Lewis notes that if a Comcast subscriber does not want the operator to use other, non-sensitive data to send targeted ads, it offers the the ability to opt out of receiving such targeted ads.
Verizon Chief Privacy Officer Karen Zacharia also put out a statement Friday stressing the argument that what Congress voted for is one consistent consumer privacy framework that applies to all internet companies and users in the internet ecosystem. She adds that Verizon doesn’t put its customers’ browsing history up for sale.
“Let’s set the record straight. Verizon does not sell the personal web browsing history of our customers. We don’t do it and that’s the bottom line,” Zacharia says.
AT&T also blogged about the topic, saying that much of the handwringing that occurred after the votes is off-base.
“The rhetoric that asserts – without any factual support – that the CRA vote suddenly eliminated consumer privacy protections is just plain wrong,” Bob Quinn, senior EVP, external and legislative affairs at AT&T says.
Quinn further states that AT&T’s privacy protections are the same today as they were five months ago when the FCC rules were adopted. “We had the same protections in place the day before the Congressional resolution was passed, and we will have the same protections the day after President Trump signs the CRA into law,” he says. “The Congressional action had zero effect on the privacy protections afforded to consumers.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations