bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal
Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama
requiring internet service providers to do more to protect
customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google or
The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on social
"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," said Gerard Lewis, Comcast's
chief privacy officer.
clear that "we do not sell our customers’ individual web
browsing information to third parties."
Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no
plans to do so in the future, said spokesman Richard Young.
Verizon privacy officer Karen Zacharia said in a blog post
Friday the company has two programs that use customer browsing
data. One allows marketers to access "de-identified information
to determine which customers fit into groups that advertisers
are trying to reach" while the other "provides aggregate
insights that might be useful for advertisers and other
Republicans in Congress Tuesday narrowly passed the repeal of
the rules with no Democratic support and over the objections of
The vote was a win for internet providers such as AT&T Inc,
Comcast and Verizon. Websites are governed by a less restrictive
set of privacy rules.
The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump plans
to sign the repeal of the rules, which had not taken effect.
Under the rules, internet providers would have needed to obtain
consumer consent before using precise geolocation, financial
information, health information, children's information and web
browsing history for advertising and marketing. Websites do not
need the same affirmative consent.
Some in Congress suggested providers would begin selling
personal data to the highest bidder, while others vowed to raise
money to buy browsing histories of Republicans.
AT&T says in its privacy statement it "will not sell your
personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." In a
blog post Friday, AT&T said it would not change those policies
after Trump signs the repeal.
Websites and internet service providers do use and sell
aggregated customer data to advertisers. Republicans say the
rules unfairly would give websites the ability to harvest more
data than internet providers.
Trade group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said in an op-ed
Friday for website Axios that individual "browser history is
already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks - by
virtually every site you visit on the internet."
This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the bill,
arguing most Americans "believe that their private information
should be just that."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and
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