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[Consumerist] Charter to track user's searches and insert ads

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
You read the title correctly. Being a Charter customer, I'm disgusted by this.

Quote:
Charter Communications is sending letters to its customers informing them of an "enhanced online experience" that involves Charter monitoring its users' searches and the websites they visit, and inserting targeted third-party ads based on their web activity. Charter, which serves nearly six million customers, is requiring users who want to keep their activity private to submit their personal information to Charter via an unencrypted form and download a privacy cookie that must be downloaded again each time a user clears his web cache or uses a different browser.
source

There is a letter on the source website that a customer received.
Quote:
Matt's letter focuses on the flawed opt-out clause, but the program itself, an implementation of "deep packet inspection," is more worrying to us. Deep packet inspection allows an ISP to monitor not only its users searches and visited websites, but also the type of activity (e.g., email or peer-to-peer), which could be used for traffic shaping and threatens net neutrality.
As soon as I get one, I'm switching ISP's.
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post #2 of 21
Search up pedophilia and if it comes up w/ an ad for porn w/ little kids then you can sue them and have them erased from the map.
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinnuke View Post
Search up pedophilia and if it comes up w/ an ad for porn w/ little kids then you can sue them and have them erased from the map.
That is diabolical; I love it.
Although, with my luck, I'll come home after work tomorrow and find Chris Hanson waiting for me and end up being the newest addition of "To Catch A Predator".
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post #4 of 21
I know this kid named Chris Hanson, quite a weirdo... Talked real slow like and was all proper and junked. Liked old music and cars for some reason.
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post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinnuke View Post
I know this kid named Chris Hanson, quite a weirdo... Talked real slow like and was all proper and junked. Liked old music and cars for some reason.
....you sir win most arbitrary post of the day.....



Anyway, being a charter customer i don't like this at all, and i'll be expecting some coders to help out with this ^^
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post #6 of 21
That is BS. Charter has a contract with my city so they are the only wired high speed internet provider that is available to me, the city is not allowed to let any competition into the city because of this contract. The only other thing I can get is satellite, but that speed is crap.
Edited by Greg121986 - 5/13/08 at 8:35pm
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg121986 View Post
That is BS. Charter has a contract with my city so they are the only wired high speed internet provider that is available to me, the city is not allowed to let any competition into the city because of this contract. The only other thing I can get is satellite, but that speed is crap.
I guess the only thing that you can do is to suck it up and start BUYING pr0nz instead of googling
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post #8 of 21
I think this is something to be concerned about. It seems that were are teetering on the edge of the internet changing; unfortunately for the worse. An ISP should never infringe on people's right to privacy especially not to inject content in hopes of padding their pockets. Perhaps the days of neutral internet are doomed?
post #9 of 21
My experience with Charter has been less than satisfactory to say the least; terrible to be more honest. First off, they're rampant with connection issues (at least in my area). The billing is a (bad) joke. It's sad I have keep every single bill I receive under tight scrutiny to ensure I'm not getting ripped off somehow. Trying to correct the problem is practically impossible. If you have a problem with your bill; you basically call them up and sit on hold for 20 minutes then talk to someone who can't speak English effectively, and typically has no clue how to deal with your situation and has no authority to do anything other than accept more of your money. The only way to get anything done is drive down to their actual building in town and wait in line for 20 minutes.

Here's an interesting story. A year or so back, my roommate had forgotten to send in our cable bill before he'd left to do some Military training for a few weeks. One afternoon I had gone to class and left my girlfriend at our apartment. She called me, bawling, about how a man had buzzed for three or four minutes (and she hadn't let him in), then somehow managed to make his way into the building anyway. He then proceeded to pound on the door, yelling "I know you're in there, open up, this is Charter. I need to shut your cable off!". After a few minutes of that, with my timid girlfriend crying, he finally left. She looked out the window as he drove off in his white Charter utility truck. After she told me about this I went down to Charter and told them the story. The area manager assured me the man would be seriously reprimanded. Not sure how that panned out though.

Just to let you know, I'm not saying everyone that works for Charter is mean, inept, or crooked. I'm sure the vast majority of their employees are good people. But IMO, the company is run beyond poorly. Whoever is responsible for the structure and operations management needs to go. Whoever owns the company is probably incompetent at best, and downright crooked at worst.

Charter recently purchased the only other cable internet provider in my area. Right now, the only other options are *shudders* dial-up or Clearwire (wireless broadband). Clearwire's speeds and connectivity are horrid around here. I may just opt for some kind DSL.
Edited by Choggs396 - 5/13/08 at 9:11pm
    
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post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The method that you provide to opt-out is as follows. First, a customer must visit www.charter.com/onlineprivacy. Once at the site, the customer must enter his or her complete name and address. Upon submission of this personal information, the customer must accept a cookie from Charter that indicates his or her opt-out status. While this process sounds simple on face, further consideration reveals that this opt-out method is fraught with privacy concerns and places the burden on your paying customer, rather than Charter.

The most pressing privacy issue with this opt-out method is that the opt-out form presented at the aforementioned URL is not encrypted. As I’m sure you realize, this means that a user submitting his or her address to Charter is doing so in the clear, leaving this personal information open to eavesdropping. It is not difficult to create an SSL-encrypted web form. It is troubling that Charter has not done so in this case.

The fact that this opt-out system relies on a cookie to keep users opted out is also a privacy issue. By telling customers who visit the opt-out page that, “if you delete your cookies or cache files… you will have to opt-out again,†you are encouraging users to keep those files that good privacy practices dictate should be frequently purged. Ironically, the best reason to purge one’s cookies often is to prevent internet marketers from tracking one’s behavior online.
this quote is taken from the letter submitted by "Matt".
same source
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