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Which ISPs Sell Your Browsing Data?
None, if you ask their marketing departments...
by Karl Bode 03:51PM Tuesday Apr 10 2007
A few weeks ago, it was reported that ISPs make a good chunk of change by selling their users' clickstream data. It's estimated your ISP is making about $5 a month per user off selling your semi-anonymized site visitation data to a dozen buyers like Compete.

The Wired News Threat Level blog (formerly 27BStroke6, but people missed the Brazil reference) has been trying to discern not only which ISPs sell your clickstream data, but also how long they retain IP info and whether they've worked with the DOJ on mandatory data retention (they most recently asked AT&T).

So far, there's a lot of "no comment" entries in the spreadsheet they're building, and not surprisingly nobody is outright admitting that they sell clickstream data.

view:
topics flat nest 

brandon
Some truth included in this post.
Premium
join:2003-03-31
Hurley, MS

Clarification?

I'm assuming that's $60 per user per year and not $60 per year...

Matt3
All noise, no signal.
Premium
join:2003-07-20
Jamestown, NC
kudos:12

Re: Clarification?

said by brandon:

I'm assuming that's $60 per user per year and not $60 per year...
Yes, as evidenced by the singular "your".
--
Use the OS tool for the job.

brandon
Some truth included in this post.
Premium
join:2003-03-31
Hurley, MS

2 edits

Re: Clarification?

said by Matt3:

said by brandon:

I'm assuming that's $60 per user per year and not $60 per year...
Yes, as evidenced by the singular "your".
And you're assuming "your" is singular...why?

In context, your is plural until the clarification of $60 per user per year is inserted.

Example: "John, I'm giving you your car back." - your = singular

"Class, I'm giving you your test back." - your = plural

Edit: And the clarification was inserted, for the record, and it reads much better. In fact, the dollar amount was changed, too...

ph03n1x

join:2003-02-15
Sanford, FL

I Think I'm Okay With This...

... as long as it's done in aggregate and remains anonymous.
chemaupr

join:2005-06-06
Alexandria, VA

Re: I Think I'm Okay With This...

Same here. But if they are making that much of my use, I will like to see at least 2 bucks per month out of those 5 they are making credited on my bill.

Maxo
Your tax dollars at work.
Premium,VIP
join:2002-11-04
Tallahassee, FL
I am not. The default policy should be privacy.

ph03n1x

join:2003-02-15
Sanford, FL

Re: I Think I'm Okay With This...

As long as the data is aggregated, it should no longer contain any personally identifiable information. Only "W # of people browsed to X url at Y time of day or Z number of times". Of course, there's no guarantee that it's done in this manner.

peter_m
Premium
join:2005-07-13
Canada, QC

Re: I Think I'm Okay With This...

I think we should be left out by default and opt-in by request in exchange for something... maybe a free service, a free router/firewall or a credit against the service fee...

Why should they be allowed to collect data on me, without my consent and then make money from it?

Maxo
Your tax dollars at work.
Premium,VIP
join:2002-11-04
Tallahassee, FL

Re: I Think I'm Okay With This...

My guess is we probably do opt in when we sign their Draconian EULA.

ph03n1x

join:2003-02-15
Sanford, FL

Re: I Think I'm Okay With This...

said by Maxo:

My guess is we probably do opt in when we sign their Draconian EULA.
More than likely so.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

1 recommendation

Hmmm...

Who gets all the pr0n clicky info?
MFers must be getting RICH from me alone!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ph03n1x

join:2003-02-15
Sanford, FL

1 recommendation

Re: Hmmm...

The Internet is for porn!

supergirl

join:2007-03-20
Pensacola, FL

1 recommendation

Re: Hmmm...

...And Geeks Created the Internet so Geeks could get Virtual XXX!
shoan

join:2006-02-27
Benton, AR

1 recommendation

AMEN brother. There is so much pron watched on my PC at home that it should be growing hair by now.

RR Conductor
NWP RR Inc.,serving NW CA
Premium
join:2002-04-02
Redwood Valley, CA
kudos:1

2 edits

Re: Hmmm...

That's sad, and sickening, especially the fact you not only admit it freely, you boast about it

Now don't take my statement the wrong way, I'm sure you're a great guy, and a very good person, I just am saddened by all the porn out there.
vinnie97
Premium
join:2003-12-05
US
kudos:1

Re: Hmmm...

yup, it's cheap.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
said by dadkins:

Who gets all the pr0n clicky info?
MFers must be getting RICH from me alone!
MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm porn
--
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth
vinnie97
Premium
join:2003-12-05
US
kudos:1

Re: Hmmm...

put down your d*ck...

free44life

@pacbell.net

if they make money off of me

... i want my inet for free

Rxdoxx
Premium,Ex-Mod 2002-13
join:2000-11-03
Middle River, MD
kudos:11

Big Brother is Your ISP

Aghh! Depressing.
All the efforts to keep a clean, spyware free system, and the service provider is selling you out the back door.
I know recently, I went looking for an AC unit. For days later I saw ads for units as I did other searches, so Google is also a tracker.
Maybe if ad-blocking becomes widespread, some of the lucrative revenue will dry up.
--
To be on a pedestal is to be in a corner
Zyniker
Zyniker
Premium
join:2004-12-25
Anaheim, CA

Re: Big Brother is Your ISP

It's been fairly obvious for a while now that Google tracks user searches and has some questionable retention/classification policies...
--
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist fears this is true.

peter_m
Premium
join:2005-07-13
Canada, QC

Re: Big Brother is Your ISP

Just delete your cookies!
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: Big Brother is Your ISP

I would guess Google does more than just cookies. Most folks who have a router hooked to their cable modem (not sure about DSL) keep the same IP for months and months. I'll bet Google leverages this fact in an attempt to track you even if you delete your cookies.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
I have more than one ISP, when i am SEEDING i use my "Linksys" ISP
not using MY cap to share
--
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth
vinnie97
Premium
join:2003-12-05
US
kudos:1

Re: Big Brother is Your ISP

mooching off the unsuspecting neighbors to get your self-satisfaction? For shame.

novaflare
The Dragon Was Here
Premium
join:2002-01-24
Barberton, OH

Re: Big Brother is Your ISP

said by vinnie97:

mooching off the unsuspecting neighbors to get your self-satisfaction? For shame.
Thats nothing friend has a beta card (pre n) that is acctually 4 wifi cards in one nice compact usb houseing. It has a special software bundle that auto bridges any connections it finds in range. We too his laptop to local hot spot for open wifi aps. Conected to 4 diffrent ones had had well 2x roadrunner turbo (10mb cons 1 up)1 normal road runner cooking along at 6mb down 512 up and one of the better dsl packages at 5 down .75 up. Did a couple test downloads and got fairly insane speeds where it normally says like 500KB is said 1868KB.
It really ment for large corps wich is how they are marketing it. This way if you need to go to another floor and loose a ap conection you are still conected to one or more likely with crappy connection but enough to not screw up a big transfer then pick up another one.

Id say if we ever see full blown muni wifi it will be damn popular for that. Drive around and your friend spouse or kids are playing their fave online game.

Mostly off topic but well isps selling data and google etc tracking you heh. When your spread out over 3 or 4 ips heh kind of screws things up for em dont it
--
Evil does exist and it has a face to often that face is one that should look on their child with love in their eyes.

Instead only hate exists in those eyes.

Doctor Four
My other vehicle is a TARDIS
Premium
join:2000-09-05
Dallas, TX

Of course Marketdroids are going to lie

When confronted with an issue such as this. Publicly,
they will all deny they track users, but if you were
to somehow get a hold of some of the ISP's internal
documents, you would find otherwise.

Marketers could care less about ISP users' privacy.
--
"The trouble with computers, of course, is that they are very sophisticated idiots." - Doctor Who (from Robot)

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

2 recommendations

Money-hungry, privacy violating bastards

I don't know about anyone else, but I usually prefer to kissed first before I get f*cked.

masterwolfe2
Resident Redneck

join:2001-03-07
Hiawassee, GA

Check this out

ETC (local phone company here) got my gf's name wrong when they signed her up, badly wrong, such as Lisa instead of Mary, and that is not her middle name or any sort of alias she uses. Within a week of her signing up, she was getting tons of junk snail mail addressed to Lisa... so when we moved into a house together, and I opened an account with them, I asked them to use just my first initial, and sure enough... I get tons of junk mail addressed to me by that name. And the lady I spoke with SWORE they don't sell or give out such info. Bull-CRAP they don't.
--
Dishplayer 625, DirecTV Plus R15, Windstream Ultra DSL

peter_m
Premium
join:2005-07-13
Canada, QC

Re: Check this out

Scary that they would lie to you flat out! Must have some local laws that protect you from this?

masterwolfe2
Resident Redneck

join:2001-03-07
Hiawassee, GA

Re: Check this out

The CSR might not even be aware... who knows? Shortly thereafter, I canceled my account with them, since they also lied about a supposed upgrade in my area, which never happened.
--
Dishplayer 625, DirecTV Plus R15, Windstream Ultra DSL

peter_m
Premium
join:2005-07-13
Canada, QC

Re: Check this out

You are right, the CSR might not be the problem and she might have been told to answer that way. As a corporation, they still lied to you.

odinb

join:2001-11-26
Frisco, TX

1 recommendation

SBC (now AT&T) does a similar thing. As soon as your phone is active (same day or day after), the "please donate to this or that" starts coming in massively. I had to shut off the ringer to stop it, I was getting 2-3 calls per day after a couple of weeks....

I never gave out that number to anyone, since my main line is a VOIP line, and the SBC-one was just to get a discount on the DSL. The rep clearly stated that they did not sell my number when I asked, yeah, sure...

Now I do not even connect a phone to the AT&T line anymore, so they can call all they want.

This has never happened to me on any of my VOIP-lines...
--
Type "miserable failure" in Google

•••
SunnyFL
Premium
join:2001-02-08

This sickens me

My privacy what privacy...

And I don't get any money out of it just a high priced ISP.

Dagda1175

join:2001-06-17
Goleta, CA

Lets see it

I want to see some of this data. If its ACTUALLY done in aggregate and anonymous numbers, then its actually better than the hands on ankles probing you get with every google search.

Michieru2
zzz zzz zzz
Premium
join:2005-01-28
Miami, FL

Re: Lets see it

LOL you think any company and especially those in marketing (bullshitters in a suit) will actually say "Here is the data".

My friend....good luck on that.
--
The only limits we have are the one's we set ourselves.
clickie8

join:2005-05-22
Monroe, MI

Should Be Easy to Fix

Data is useless if it can't be discerned from noise; so just give them a lot of noise. I think some sort of spider that slowly, but faithfully just follows links all day long. It wouldn't take long for any value to this information to be diluted to worthless.

Fight technology with, technology.

T1 Rocky

join:2002-11-15
Dallas, TX

1 recommendation

Re: Should Be Easy to Fix

I've worked in the ISP business since 1998 (non ILECs) and noone has ever come to me and asked to buy information. But then again, I've never worked for a telco. I think your going to find that if this is real it was only for the cable and telcos ISP's. And $5 per user? Something smells very fishy. Who is going to be nuts enough to buy it for $5 per user per month? That's just crazy. Then how are they going to tie it to you? How often does anyone use their ISP's mail box these days? There's too much in this story that doesn't add up. I question the credibility of this story.

PS Bill Gates is tracking a new post tracking software and if you post after this post then he will send all of us $5.

heathcpe

join:2002-03-19
Brandon, MS

Intelectual Property

Maybe we should all send DCMA notices to our ISPs for violating our IP rights. I believe we own the copyrights associated with our clickstreams or browsing history. Maybe I'll publish it in a book.

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

Re: Intelectual Property

said by heathcpe:

Maybe we should all send DCMA notices to our ISPs for violating our IP rights. I believe we own the copyrights associated with our clickstreams or browsing history. Maybe I'll publish it in a book.
Hmmm, copyright on clickstream. I think you're onto something.
--
The Toll


POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

PAOGA

PAOGA For those who DO mind who is in control of their clickstream data.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Doubleclick

And Cox
-
ever wonder why an email address just minutes old gets spam?
--
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth
the niTz
Premium
join:2004-07-05
Sahuarita, AZ

Re: Doubleclick

hmm never got anyspam from doubleclick i still get viagra once in a bluemoon and sometimes a blank email with absolutely nothing in it
--
01000111 01110010 01100101 01100101 01100011 01100101 00100000 01001111 01110111 01101110 01110011
ebubman

join:2002-01-17
Mechanicsburg, PA

Re: Doubleclick

what????? comcast try to make money on me????? nahhhhhh! it'll never happen.

charterengr
Premium,VIP
join:2002-03-09
Englewood, CO

Raking in the money.....

$5/month/user? Come on, that doesn't even pass the sanity check. So let's take Comcast as an example. 11.5mil customers. That would be almost $700mil per year! No way.