Have you ever thought about the enormous amount of data your broadband internet provider could collect from you? The sites you visit, your spending habits, even which products seem to catch you eye.
Well, with online advertising’s $45 billion yearly budget going mostly to the likes of Google, your broadband provider is getting tired of being left out of the party. What’s to stop Charter Communications from monitoring all of your web activity, then selling you targeted ads–or at least selling your browsing habits to the highest bidder?
Fortunately, as CNET explains, there are a whole host of laws in place that prevent broadband service providers from doing just that. But, that’s not stopping them from testing the limits of the law.
The problem for broadband providers is that intercepting customers’ Web browsing, analyzing the protocols to see what’s going on, and reviewing the packets’ contents starts to look a lot like wiretapping. And there are federal and state laws, complete with civil and criminal sanctions, that broadly prohibit wiretapping.
Because deep packet inspection can, barring the use of encryption, monitor everything that a customer does online, a broadband provider is in the enviable position of being able to know exactly what each customer is doing. The odds of successful monetization are high. But so are the legal risks.
Are you concerned? Do you think allowing the use of your browsing data will help make for a better web experience? Or, are you in favor of keeping prying eyes out of your web surfing habits?
Drop a comment and let us know.