Comcast’s Latest Push: Charging Customers for Privacy

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Should service providers be able to charge more to customers who want their digital activities to remain off-limits? The FCC is weighing the arguments.

Comcast is arguing that it should be able to charge people more if they want to keep their internet usage private.

Internet providers like AT&T already allow people to get a discounted rate if they allow the company to track their usage. Comcast now wants a similar deal, according to The Washington Post. The company would then use the data it collects from your internet usage to better target ads to you.

The Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of developing privacy rules as they apply to internet providers. Service providers note that services like Google and Facebook already operate under a model like this: The service is free, but data collected from usage patterns are used to sell ads.

Consumer groups note that while sites like Google or Netflix can track what you do on their site, for example, they don’t know what you do on other websites. A service provider like Comcast or AT&T is positioned to monitor everything you do.

According to the Post:

It’s still unclear whether Comcast has actual, concrete plans to roll out a discount, data-driven internet program. But what is clear is that the company has at least considered the possibility and wants looser rules for the industry that would permit such plans.

Would you be willing to pay to keep your internet use private? How much would it be worth to you? Share with us in comments or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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