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Sunday, April 02, 2017
ISPs Assure Users They Won't Take Advantage Of New Internet Privacy Landscape

The major U.S. internet providers say will not sell customer browsing histories days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules.

Comcast, Verizon Communications and AT&T said Friday they would not sell customers' individual internet browsing information.

The new bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama requiring internet service providers to protect customers' privacy.

"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.

He added Comcast is revising its privacy policy to make more clear that "we do not sell our customers' individual web browsing information to third parties."

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 businesses."

Republicans in Congress Tuesday narrowly passed the repeal of the rules with no Democratic support and over the objections of privacy advocates.

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.

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.

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