Internet providers say they won’t sell web browser histories

Teya Vitu//April 24, 2017

Internet providers say they won’t sell web browser histories

Teya Vitu//April 24, 2017

Your web browser history is not for sale in Idaho.

So claim Internet Service Providers across the Gem State.

President Trump on April 3 signed a resolution approved by both houses of Congress to overturn Internet privacy protections created last year by the Federal Communications Commission. This allows broadband Internet service providers to track and sell customer information more easily, according to the N.Y. Times.

Mike Kennedy
Mike Kennedy

Technology privacy experts told the Chicago Tribune that federal law still requires broadband providers to protect customer information. But existing law has no clear rules, which the repealed Obama-era FCC privacy rules would have provided, on how ISPs must carry out privacy protections.

Several ISPs have let customers know that the nullification of the FCC’s “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” rule will not prompt them to wipe clean their privacy policies.

Intermax Networks, based in Coeur d’Alene, directly notified the Idaho Business Review with its pledge to maintain customer privacy. Other ISPs directly addressed the matter on their websites.

“We’ve gotten a surprising amount of questions on this topic from our client base throughout north Idaho in light of the repeal of FCC rules that were to govern ISP use,” said Mike Kennedy, president of Intermax. “We are stunned at the change in this law… Unfortunately, the big national companies have carried the day in Washington on this. So in response we are making a pledge to our customers that their browsing data is not for sale with Intermax.”

Cable One is a major ISP in Boise and Idaho Falls.

“Cable One does not sell our customers’ personal information or sell their online browsing information,” said Celynda Roach, general manager of Cable One in Boise. “That was our practice when the FCC adopted its privacy rules and it continues to be.”

CenturyLink is the other large ISP in the Treasure Valley and eastern Idaho.

“We must remember we are talking about a FCC order that was never put into effect,” said Mark Molzen, issues manager at CenturyLink. “To be clear, we do not sell individual browsing history.”

Charter Communications provides Internet service in Moscow and Coeur d’Alene.

“Recent activity by Congress does not change, or weaken, Charter Communication’s commitment to the protection of our customers’ online privacy, or our rigorous privacy practices and policies,” said Bret Picciolo, director of northwest regional communications at Charter. “We do not sell or otherwise share our Internet customers’ web browsing histories to third parties.”

Cox Communications, which provides Internet service in the Wood River Valley, posted a statement March 31 on Internet privacy on its website.

“Cox has no plans to change its privacy practices as a result of the repeal of the FCC rules,” the statement read. “Cox does not sell personally identifiable information of any kind, including web browsing history, and has no plans to do so. Cox does not collect the individual web browsing history of our customers and has no plans to do so.”

Frontier Communications offers Internet service in 46 cities in 18 Idaho counties running the full length of the state., Only eight of those cities are among the 50 largest in Idaho, including Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Moscow and Homedale.

“Although there have been reports that personal data may be available for sale, that is not true at Frontier,” said Javier Mendoza, director of public relations at Frontier. “Frontier does not track or sell individual customer browsing history.”