Charter suspends NebuAd data-pimping experiment
Squeaky wheels kill pilot - for now
Charter Communications has suspended plans to deploy NebuAd's web usage tracking technology following howls of protest from critics who say that practice seriously compromised the privacy of subscribers.
Charter, which is the biggest US-based internet service provider to test the NebuAd system, abruptly changed course on Tuesday, following scrutiny from Congressmen and at least one state law enforcer. Last month, Charter had said it would begin tracking the web usage of subscribers in four test markets so it could deliver targeted ads to them.
Both Charter and NebuAd insist the subscribers are never personally identified. But government overseers aren't so sure. Among them is Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who released a letter Tuesday calling on Charter to drop the pilot.
"The arrangement raises strikingly significant questions, such as what other uses will be made of this highly sensitive information and what measures Charter Communications is taking to safeguard such information," the letter read. Privacy advocates on Capitol Hill also weighed in last month. Democratic Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, wrote Charter President Neil Smit and asked him to put the trial on hold.
No fewer than 15 privacy watchdogs have also weighed in on Charter's plan. Some of them have likened NebuAd to so-called man-in-the-middle intruders who use cross-site scripting attacks to hijack browser sessions.
The month of unfavorable attention was more than Charter's public relations ministers could handle.
"Our customers are always our first priority," they said in announcing the suspension. "We will continue to take a thoughtful, deliberate approach with the goal to ultimately structure an advertising service that enhances the internet experience for our customers and addresses questions and concerns they've raised."
Both Charter and NebuAd have portrayed the suspension as temporary, but so far neither side is saying when they think Charter might resume the experiment. NebuAd has said it is working with other ISPs in the US and that by the end of the year it will be monitoring the web surfing of 10 percent on internet users in this country. ®
The only reason that i think the UK government is sticking its fingers in its ears about the whole thing (and not upsetting the ISP's and Phorm et al), is that it ties in quite nicely with their plans for a superdatabase of all communications (including e-mails and phone calls) being planned under the pretence of "terror prevention".
Its 1984 all over again, and big brother isn't just watching you, he is living in your spare house, shagging your wife, eating your food, watching your tv, using all the hot water you were going to use for a nice relaxing bath and hes not even paying any soddin rent!!!!
I would say which coat was mine, but i dont want them knowing what I'm wearing when they intercept this posting and come looking for me......
Oh yes, it will .... oh no, it won't
"Phorm and the like WILL BE STOPPED. Please complain to your MP's and ISP's now." ... By Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 25th June 2008 19:19 GMT
Admire your enthusiasm, AC, but finding Need and supply Feed generates Industry/Energy/Money/Power .... in Fact, Everything.
It is naive to think that there will be any choice in Technology providing that information .... and here is another reason why ...... http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/34584720-post10185.html
Now I don't know if this would apply in this country, but if phroms webwise service does the same as neubad system. Then surly this would be a breach of numorus sections of the misuse of computers act.
For example if phroms system does exactally the same as nebuad system and if the findings from Rob Topski are correct, then this clear would be a breach of the misuse of computers act. As by forging packets to believe they are from a trusted source. Would be covered by the unlawful modification also as described in Rob Topski report. The forged packets are exactally the same as a xss attack aswell as a man in the middle attack. Which I believe are both illegal under the misuse of computers act.
Therefore it would be intresting to see if this is the case next phrom decided test with one of there so-called partners, we can see if they are doing the same and if so report them to the national hi-tech crime unit.
Paris Because, even she knows leaving traces of stuff can get you in trouble *LVD*