ISPs Play Dumb In NebuAD Lawsuit
Claim they were 'passive participants' in user data sales...
by Karl Bode 08:54AM Thursday Feb 05 2009 Tipped by funchords
Back in November, NebuAD and several of the ISPs who were doing business with them (Embarq, WOW, Centurytel and Cable One) were sued
over their plan to sell subscriber browsing histories without giving customers a functional opt-out mechanism. As we've stated in the past, NebuAD's system opted users out of receiving the system's targeted ads, but it didn't opt them out of data collection and sales
. The ISPs who were included in the lawsuit are now blaming NebuAD for their misfortunes. From MediaPost
The broadband providers argue that they can't be sued for violating federal or state privacy laws if they didn't intercept any subscribers. In court papers filed late last week, they argue that NebuAd alone allegedly intercepted traffic, while they were merely passive participants in the plan.
By "passive participants," they mean they took (or planned to take) money from NebuAD in exchange for allowing NebuAD to place deep packet inspection hardware on their networks. That hardware collected all browsing activity for all users, including what pages were visited, and how long each user stayed there. It's true many of the the carriers were rather passive in failing to inform customers these trials were occurring -- several simply tried to slip this through fine print in their terms of service or acceptable use policies.