Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Oct 2012 21:18 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption As it turns out, new Verizon customers (although there are reports existing customers are getting notified too) have 30 days to opt out of something really nasty: Verizon will sell your browsing history and location history to marketers. Apparently, AT&T does something similar. Doesn't matter what phone - iOS, Android, anything. Incredibly scummy and nasty. I quickly checked my own Dutch T-Mobile terms, and they don't seem to be doing this.
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RE[4]: Wow...
by Morgan on Tue 9th Oct 2012 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wow..."
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Once again, it comes down to how much you trust the service provider. My Comcast agreement explicitly states that they will not sell or otherwise use my browsing and location information outside of a law enforcement subpoena or warrant. I have to believe them if I want to have a home internet connection; as of this news piece I'm certainly not going with AT&T DSL. Once again, Comcast could be lying to me but at least I have it on paper that they don't track and sell info. That's something that can be held over their head in court if necessary.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[5]: Wow...
by Alfman on Wed 10th Oct 2012 03:26 in reply to "RE[4]: Wow..."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Morgan,

"Once again, it comes down to how much you trust the service provider."

Voted you up...unless all your traffic is encrypted, you have to trust your ISP & it's partners.

I attempted to play devil's advocate and find some dirt on comcast, but I didn't find much recently; I did find this tidbit a decade ago however:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2002/02/13/comcast-p...

"Comcast, the nation's third-largest cable company, acknowledged this week that it is recording which Web pages each customer visits as part of a technology overhaul that it hopes will save money and speed up its network. The company said the move was not intended to infringe on privacy."

However amid political criticism, they've officially stopped tracking web requests.


There has been more recent criticism about comcast's use of DPI to block legit customer traffic, the feds intervened in that case, but it's arguable whether that fits under the classification of a "privacy" violation? It's kind of similar to having a mail man use some kind of xray to inspect the documents inside an envelope to determine the mail's priority. On the other hand, some people will argue the ISP should be entitled to shape traffic based on it's contents. My own view is that the ISP is to blame if they are over subscribing their service in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Wow...
by Laurence on Wed 10th Oct 2012 16:14 in reply to "RE[5]: Wow..."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

unless all your traffic is encrypted, you have to trust your ISP & it's partners.

Encrypting your traffic would only hide the content of your traffic, but that data isn't really of interest anyway. It's who connected to where, when the connection was made and from where. You cannot encrypt that data as you have to go via your ISP / cell carrier.

However, what you can do is run a proxy (VPN, SSH tunnel or even just a straight up web proxy). At least then all of your traffic appears to be going to the same destination (the proxy) and thus their records of you are worthless.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Wow...
by ilovebeer on Wed 10th Oct 2012 04:03 in reply to "RE[4]: Wow..."
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Once again, it comes down to how much you trust the service provider. My Comcast agreement explicitly states that they will not sell or otherwise use my browsing and location information outside of a law enforcement subpoena or warrant. I have to believe them if I want to have a home internet connection; as of this news piece I'm certainly not going with AT&T DSL. Once again, Comcast could be lying to me but at least I have it on paper that they don't track and sell info. That's something that can be held over their head in court if necessary.

If people are that concerned about their privacy then trust shouldn't even be a factor. All of these privacy policies are worded in a way that leaves backdoors open and subject to change at any time without prior notice (ie: they'll tell you after the fact). Also, they're not going to give you ammunition to use against them in court. In theory those privacy policies are a nice little security blanket, but in practice they're usually worth little more than the actual paper they're printed on after you get through the wording and fine print.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Wow...
by Laurence on Wed 10th Oct 2012 16:28 in reply to "RE[5]: Wow..."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


If people are that concerned about their privacy then trust shouldn't even be a factor. All of these privacy policies are worded in a way that leaves backdoors open and subject to change at any time without prior notice (ie: they'll tell you after the fact). Also, they're not going to give you ammunition to use against them in court. In theory those privacy policies are a nice little security blanket, but in practice they're usually worth little more than the actual paper they're printed on after you get through the wording and fine print.


Not sure where you stand in the US, but in the UK there are watch dogs like Trading Standards. If it's deemed that a company is deliberately misleading consumers (eg Comcast cleverly wording their agreement so customers are tricked into thinking no browsing data will be sold), then the offending company will be penalised.

In fact I'm fairly sure (though I might be wrong here) that ISPs got a warning over their "up to 20Mb" adverts in the national media (TV / newspapers / etc) because most customers were only receiving ADSL speeds due to ADSL2+ not being available in their area. And, on that occasion, I actually sympathised with the ISPs as I'm not really sure how you advertise broadband packages when different streets in the same town can have vastly different cabling - let alone the different towns across the country.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Wow...
by JAlexoid on Thu 11th Oct 2012 08:16 in reply to "RE[4]: Wow..."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Does it say your browsing/location information or personally identifiable browsing/location information? If it's the latter, then be sure that they are.

Reply Parent Score: 2