A Closer Look At Comcast's Privacy Policy

Wired took a closer look at Comcast’s privacy policy on one of their blogs today. Of particular interest:

The privacy policy starts off with the fine sentiment that: “Comcast is committed to maintaining your privacy and believes that, as a subscriber to its high-speed Internet service, you are entitled to know Comcast’s information practices.” The policy then goes on to state “We will not read your outgoing or incoming e-mail, video mail, private chat, or instant messages, but we (or our third party providers) do store e-mail messages and video mail messages on computer systems for a period of time.”

“A period of time” is not defined.

Comcast (and we’re sure they’re not alone in this) should really be more explicit about what is captured and how long it is stored. —MEGHANN MARCO

Comcast Deflects User’s Questions – Updated [Wired]
(Photo: cmorran123)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hawkins says:

    I don’t think that’s the scary part. Most e-mail systems work by “store-and-forward”: your outbound messages are uploaded to your ISP’s mail server, where they sit until the mail server dispatches them. Your inbound mail sits on the mail server until you fetch it.

    So all e-mail messages are stored “for a period of time.”

    Other parts of the agreement are much more shocking, like where Comcast claims copyright ownership of anything you e-mail to anybody, ever.

  2. wesrubix says:

    Ha hawkins, you beat me to it. I totally thought the same thing when I read this in my google reader this morning.

    Store-and-forward is used almost everywhere on the Internet, because without it, a lot of routing would not work. Additionally, the store-and-forward parameters of infrastructure are typically not let out to the public for security reasons. If you knew how long the timeout was on a router, you could abuse that and disrupt it. Security through obscurity is never a good idea, but it’s better than nothing.

    Lastly, if store-and-forward wasn’t used on email (and other types of “multimedia” email), there is significantly less guarantee of delivery. This situation is analogous to the risk of moving a file as opposed to copying, and then deleting the original upon successful arrival.

  3. CaptainRoin says:

    Unless you are subject to a HSI service plan that expressly provides otherwise, we recommend that you connect only a single computer to HSI.

    I really don’t understand this statement. They “reccommend” ?? WTF? As in we recommend you pay us more, but it’s not required.

  4. faust1200 says:

    I believe this policy is par for the course. But if you would like to get your conspiracy knickers in a knot read this about Gmail.


  5. synergy says:

    This annoys me in the sense that the library system feels the need to reassure you that they don’t keep records so it won’t do Homeland Security any good to ask for records. I’d rather they keep records so when I can’t remember that book I read, they might give me a list. The problem is that the government shouldn’t be able to ask for it without permission. Nor should security against others/hackers be a problem.

  6. dragonpup says:

    I am guessing the FBI/DHS are the ones who want your email stored.

  7. triple says:

    Well yes that is how email works, of course. It gets sent to their mail servers, the mail gets stored on their server, and then you download it from their server when you check your mail.

    Internet 101, anyone?

  8. u235sentinel says:

    I wouldn’t trust them. After they disconnected me from the internet I started looking into what else the company has been involved with. Seems in 2002 they did something that violated the telecommunications privacy act of 1984 but I don’t know what the results where.


    I wouldn’t trust these guys. They will do what they feel like and the customer be damned. What arrogance. At this point I’m pushing for Net Neutrality and fiber to the house. Time to out grown copper and go fiber :D