I Told You So: Comcast Not To Sell Your History

A Comcast truck works in Pittsburgh Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Last month I warned that the Broadband Privacy story was no big deal. Turns out the facts are in, and I was right: the Obama regulation was terrible, and the Republicans didn’t hurt anyone by repealing it.

In The Truth About Broadband Privacy, I pointed out that the Obama-era “privacy” regulations passed by FCC, were really about protecting Google from competition:

But here’s the truth: the regulation as passed went too far, and was probably illegal to begin with. It was spun that ISPs would “sell information” about you, including your social security number, to advertisers. But that’s never what it was about, at all.

Nobody was looking to sell your SSN or your medical records. Such things are already protected under the law anyway. No, this was about basic, industry-standard advertising practices, and specifically about barring ISPs from getting into that market. This was regulation about picking winners and losers by preventing new entrants into an existing market.

Some shady leftists even started raising money to “buy the browsing history of Republicans,” money which is surely going to disappear, unaccounted for. Because it turns out I was right, and nobody’s selling browser history to begin with.

Comcast points out that a lot of the things they were accused of doing were already illegal (as I said last month). Comcast notes also that FTC, the regulator that should be involved here, already addresses the matter:

Comcast has committed to privacy principles that are consistent with the FTC’s privacy regime which has applied to all entities in the Internet ecosystem for over 20 years and which continues to apply to Internet edge companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We believe this commitment is legally enforceable in multiple ways, including by state Attorneys General.

Further, Comcast is allowing people to opt out of targeted ads, which is exactly the same thing Google does. If that’s not good enough for you, then you need this to be addressed at FTC, not FCC, and apply it to everyone, including Google.

Which is exactly what the Republicans, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and I have been saying all along.