Comcast Says It Wants to Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by TheWindBringeth, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    https://www.dslreports.com/shownews...harge-Broadband-Users-More-For-Privacy-137567
    So sad. Yet another corporation which obviously wants to "grab our wallet then sell it back to us". A few bills short I expect. From the PDF:
    Comments:
    • That approach involves others (who are likely to be substantially unqualified *and* who are almost certain to have conflicts of interest) defining what constitutes your sensitive information. Without even consulting you, and ultimately you are really the only person who can decide what is sensitive in your context.
    • Essentially every data point that in some way relates to finances and/or health would be considered sensitive from a privacy POV. Where you live and alternatives you look at, what you drive and vehicles you look at, the vacation spots you visit or research, all of your shopping activity, every symptom search and/or other health related web activity, etc, etc, etc. Needless to say, they will never define things broadly enough. Even if they were forced to, preventing such information from being scooped up in datamining activities is virtually impossible.
    • Some other obvious categories of sensitive information are not mentioned here. They might be mentioned elsewhere, but the same "won't be defined properly and can't be reliably prevented" issues would apply.
    • There are also many non-obvious categories and pieces of sensitive information that most companies fail to even acknowledge let alone handle appropriately. Rather than be as accurate and honest about what qualifies as sensitive, they selectively define things so that consumers remain in the dark and they can grab and abuse as much sensitive/valuable data as possible.
    • The use of opt-out for such practices is an attempt to prey on the most unfortunate, the tired, the distracted. Those who work very long hours if not multiple jobs, those impaired by medical condition and/or medication, those taking care of themselves and others, those struggling to cope with any number of other life challenges. They, especially, due to all they shoulder... but even the very best of us too, when we aren't at our best... can easily fail to learn about or forget about an opt-out checkbox somewhere. It happens all the time and that is why they choose to use it.
    • The only possibly legitimate cases of "implied consent" might be those communications which are genuinely essential to the delivery of the products/services already purchased. Marketing communications fall outside that scope. Particularly the kind that ISPs wish to engage in: advertising additional products and services [driven by datamining user communications/activities].
    The FCC seems like it is trying to step up and address the rogue ISP problem, but it needs to push for more and fight the ISPs much harder. So do we.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  2. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Screaming ---- Get a VPN!
     
  3. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Maybe they'll charge extra for VPN users ;)
     
  4. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Or maybe they'll detect VPN usage (like Netflix) and drop you all together. ;)
     
  5. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    and for using you own wireless router instead of their wifi datamining unit and for using your own security system instead of their home activity snooping one and for not meeting the eyes-on-advertising threshold set by their gaze detection enabled TV box and for not complimenting them on social media and...

    This "charge you more for not doing the things that make them more money" path leads to hell.
     
  6. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Well, it's my understanding that Netflix etc block VPNs to avoid violating licensing contracts with IP owners. Maybe ISPs don't like VPNs, but they do want your business. So it seems more likely that they'll just block or throttle them. But time will tell.
     
  7. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    Yes, privacy is becoming a commodity and not a right, so soon only people with money could afford it.
     
  8. Anonfame1

    Anonfame1 Registered Member

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    What about if you used a VPN provider that offered vpn via SSH? Unless they did reverse DNS lookups on the IP address to figure out it was a VPN entrance IP, theyd never know it wasnt a typical SSH connection. I suppose SSL tunneling too, though it might be more obvious as most people dont connect to one website exclusively.

    Regardless, this is what happens. People/entities will continue to take until some form of power checks them- its been this way for thousands of years. The people have not awoken- they are in a corporately induced slumber with only fleeting moments of consciousness in regards to the dynamics of social power.
     
  9. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    No matter how you obfuscated the connection, you'd still be pushing lots of traffic through an encrypted channel. Your ISP might not know how you're doing it, but that wouldn't stop them from blocking the connections, or from terminating your account.
     
  10. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Here in the USA there is NO way corporations would ever allow Gov't/ISPs to forbid encrypted communications of their data traveling through gateways. If I had to I would form a "dummy" corporation. Then I would engage my ISP's services as a corporation, which requires secure communications. Written documentation from the board of directors to that effect. Nobody would question that. I have owned several and its easy to do. Hope it won't come to that.
     
  11. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    Rogue ISPs don't have to forbid anything. They can just increase their charges when you avoid something they don't want you to avoid. Not using their DNS server which datamines activity? Not exposing HTTP host and HTTPS server names to their passive sniffer that datamines activity? Not retrieving/viewing ads served by them and/or their partners? If so, you must pay more. The strategy can be used against individuals and businesses.

    The strategy would cover VPN use, unless you also run a bot that successfully tricks their systems. Note, however, that "you pay more if you don't actually and verifiably follow through and provide us with the additional sales/information/whatever we want" is possible.

    I think it is true that they can be more aggressive with individual consumers than they can be with businesses. However, business use means business plan means higher cost. So you'd still end up paying more for the "privilege" of not having your communications datamined etc etc.

    Hiding personal communications behind a corporate structure/account might prevent datamined information from being associated with you as an individual. If the isolation was strong enough to foil their systems. Which are probably designed to pierce simple arrangements. From an advertising profit POV, it probably makes sense to target users behind a business account with advertising related to that business, and to also target individuals behind any account with advertising thought to be related to their work/business.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  12. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Those are all good points. I guess I am not as concerned about a "delta" in costs as much as the notion of being forbidden to run encrypted channels. My fear was the notion of the Gov deciding in their infinite wisdom that a citizen doesn't need encrypted communications, as this issue unravels over time.
     
  13. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

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    TheWindBringeth, thanks for posting this and you've described the situation well. As reprehensible as this is, it's unsurprising.
     
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