The Inquirer-Home

Charter wants to track users and replace online adverts

Greedy, snooping beggars
Wed May 14 2008, 12:13

US CABLE ISP Charter Communications has sent all its subscribers a letter telling them that it's going to start monitoring their web-surfing habits and online searches and replacing the ads on webpages they visit based on their interests.

Of course, Charter claims that its subscribers' personal information won't be compromised, their wibbling habits and interests will remain confidential, and information won't be provided to third parties or sold.

Charter is also generously offering to let its subscribers opt out of this new "enhanced online experience" by visiting an unencrypted, insecure web page and entering their full name and address, then accepting an opt-out cookie stored in their web-browser.

Sunscribers will have to do this from every computer they use, and they will have to do it all over again if they ever purge their web-browser's cache of cookies.

Charter also doesn't mention what performance impact its new "service" will have on its network performance and its subscribers' web page access delays.

There's speculation over at DSL Reports that the driver for Charter's cunning plan involves hardware-based deep packet inspection.

One Charter subscriber had his jolly rant published at The Consumerist. Others were on the search for a good encrypted web-proxy server.

We can only guess how advertising-supported web site publishers might feel about this. Cough! µ

See Also
British Telecom spied on 36,000 of its Internet customers
Web's creator slams targeted ads


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