Last month we reported on Charter Communications’ plan to start tracking its users internet activity in order to serve more targeted ads. Charter claimed customers could opt-out of the service, but a reader reviewed Charter’s opt-out method and discovered that even if you said no, you would still be tracked. Yesterday Charter announced it was abandoning the program and will not track its customers’ activities after all—at least for the immediate future.
Charter had planned to begin the program as early as this month in the test markets: Fort Worth; San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Oxford, Mass.; and Newtown, Conn.
Earlier Tuesday, Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, released a letter calling on Charter to drop the plan. A Charter spokeswoman, Anita Lamont, said the decision to do so was unrelated to Mr. Blumenthal’s letter.
Update:On the New York Times’ “Bits” blog, Charter admits they’re not ending the program—just postponing it until the heat’s off:
Anita Lamont, a spokeswoman for Charter, said the company wanted to take stock of “customer concerns about privacy.” Its executives, she said, were “just wanting to make sure everybody was comfortable.” Ms. Lamont said that Charter hopes to proceed with the system at some point in the future, but she wouldn’t say when.
“This is something we would move forward with when we think it’s time,” she said.
“Charter Won’t Track Customers’ Web Use” [New York Times]
“Charter Suspends Plan To Sell Customer Data to Advertisers” [Bits – New York Times]