Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Internet Search Information and Customer Privacy Concern

UPDATE 3/31: Comcast responded and it doesn't suck. Sounds like they aren't going to share out customer info and allow for opt-in participation with advertising. My view: cautiously impressed. Read on. http://corporate.comcast.com/comcast-voices/our-commitment-to-consumer-privacy


This is an email I wrote today to the Comcast Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications: Government & Regulatory Communications & the larger Corporate Communications Team...

Dear Ms. Fitzmaurice & the Comcast Comm Team:
Today, as you know, our Congress passed a bill that allows ISP's to access and commoditize the search habits of their customers. 

Having been a Comcast customer for 20 years, I wanted to reach out to you personally and let you know that even though you CAN do something, I'd like to ask you not to. In a world where the government is recklessly pulling protection away from every single aspect of our lives, wouldn't it be great if large influential companies like Comcast did right by their customers just because it's the proper thing to do? 

I know the main argument for this legislation is opening up 'competition' for you and getting a 'piece of the action.' Destination sites like Google, Yahoo & Facebook get to collect and track users all day long and monetize it. But Comcast has merely been the 'dumb pipes' that people use to access these sites where endless personal data collection and monetization happen. The problem though is that users actually choose those destinations and willingly submit their personal information. But as an ISP, we look to you to create safe avenues to and from our Internet wanderings, not sell our comings and goings to others. 

So what if Comcast decided not to sell out customer information and took a strong stand on being THE conscientious ISP that takes privacy seriously? Or maybe allowing people to OPT-IN/OPT-OUT of such data collection/monetization--many would see that as a sensible compromise. I'm sure many customers who don't care would be happy to let you have their info. But as customers who do care, having no choice in the matter doesn't make us feel valued or safe. In fact, it makes us want to look for other options.

I ask you to consider what you could do that would set you apart and make Comcast an ISP people would clamor to support. If not just for your service but for your principles.

Kali Sakai & Ken Moore
Seattle, WA


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