| WASHINGTON, March 31
WASHINGTON, March 31 Comcast Corp said
Friday it would not sell customers’ individual internet browsing
information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation
reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules.
The bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the
Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration
requiring internet service providers to do more to protect
customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet Inc's Google
or Facebook Inc.
The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on
social media sites.
"We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web
browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were
adopted, and we have no plans to do so," said Gerard Lewis,
Comcast's chief privacy officer.
clear that "we do not sell our customers’ individual web
browsing information to third parties."
Republicans in Congress on Tuesday narrowly passed the
repeal of the privacy rules with no Democratic support and over
the strong objections of privacy advocates.
The vote was a win for internet providers such as AT&T Inc
, Comcast and Verizon Communications Inc. Websites
are governed by a less restrictive set of privacy rules.
The White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump
plans to sign the repeal of the rules, which had not taken
Under the rules, internet providers would have needed to
obtain consumer consent before using precise geolocation,
financial information, health information, children's
information and web browsing history for advertising and
marketing. Websites do not need the same affirmative consent.
Some in Congress suggested providers would begin selling
personal data to the highest bidder, while others vowed to raise
money to buy browsing histories of Republicans.
AT&T says in its privacy statement it "will not sell your
personal information to anyone, for any purpose. Period." In a
blog post Friday, AT&T said it would not change those policies
after Trump signs the repeal.
Websites and internet service providers do use and sell
aggregated customer data to advertisers. Republicans say the
rules unfairly would give websites the ability to harvest more
data than internet providers.
Trade group USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said in an op-ed
Friday for website Axios that individual "browser history is
already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks - by
virtually every site you visit on the internet."
This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the
bill, arguing most Americans "believe that their private
information should be just that."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)