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BizReport : Internet : June 26, 2008

Charter Communications drops invasive consumer tracking plans

When an ISP decided to monitor its user’s activity, using what is known to be an invasive program and lacking a comprehensive opt-out option, they quickly learned how consumers felt about the plan.

by Helen Leggatt

Consumers and U.S. government representatives both attacked a proposed Charter Communications ad program that was to utilize data collected from tracking their subscribers.

One of the reasons for concern was the use of NebuAd’s program which inserts hidden code into a user’s web browser which, in turn “directs the browser to another site not requested or even seen by the consumer, where more hidden code is downloaded and executed to add more tracking cookies,” explains Roy Mark at

"Given the serious privacy concerns raised by the sophisticated ad-serving technology Charter Communications planned to test-market, I am pleased to hear that the company has decided to delay implementation of this program," said Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a major force in the campaign.

"I urge other broadband companies considering similar user profiling programs to similarly hold off on implementation while these important privacy concerns can be addressed."

Another cause for concern for consumers was that the opt-out process was far from simple and straightforward.

Tags: consumer tracking, privacy concerns

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