Another ISP Suspends NebuAD Trials
Centurytel suspends trials in face of Congressional inquiry...
On the heels of Charter's decision last week to suspend their use
of NebuAD user tracking ad technology, I'm seeing hints that CenturyTel may be doing the same thing. In addition to reworking their privacy page, the company is e-mailing customers who ask
to inform them that plans to implement the gear have been "delayed." Carriers are concerned after Congress showed hints they could be investigating the technology because it potentially violates several Federal wiretap and privacy laws. From an e-mail to a subscriber:
CenturyTel is not currently using online behavioral advertising tools in any of its markets, and we are delaying our plans to move forward with the deployment of online behavioral advertising services - either through NebuAd or any other vendor - at this time. CenturyTel is delaying its implementation plans so that Congress can spend additional time addressing the privacy issues and policies associated with online behavioral advertising.
Of course, an employee at one ISP tells me NebuAD is promising ISPs that they're developing a new opt-out system that is IP-address based. The current cookie-based system only stops targeted ad delivery; it doesn't opt the user out of browsing tracking (potentially running afoul of three laws
). Should NebuAD's new opt-out mechanism please Congress (something I'm sure lobbyists are already working on), you will see these plans revisited.