[Update] Comcast Denies Threatening To Disconnect Users Of Ultra-Private Browser

(Consumerist's own Chris Morran)

(Consumerist’s own Chris Morran)

Tor is a specialized web browser: its target audience is the very security-minded user, someone who wants to stay private and anonymous. That includes all kinds of folks, from tech writers to, well, some people who have a strong and vested interest in law enforcement not knowing what they’re up to. The browser boasts over a million users now, but Comcast seems to be of the opinion that it knows what every one of those people are up to, that they are up to no good, and that Comcast has the right to cut off their web service for using it.

Business Insider reports that Comcast is identifying Tor users as participating in “illegal activity,” and threatening to cut off their internet service.

According to DeepDotWeb, one Tor user was told by a Comcast representative, “Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules.”

Tor is popular with the criminal element, it’s true. But it’s also popular with highly tech-savvy, security-minded users. Last we checked, preferring privacy and anonymity online were far from illegal on their own.

Comcast is basically claiming psychic powers, to know what evil lurks in the hearts of men who prefer private browsing. And they’re saying that anyone who doesn’t want to be spied on is doing something against the rules.

Users, of course, probably have no alternative service to use. So Comcast is getting to decide what they do with their service, and what level of privacy they’re entitled to.

Call it another reason that letting Comcast take over more of the nation’s broadband connections is a bad idea.

UPDATE: A Comcast VP has released a statement saying that they “are not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter,” and that, “We have no policy against Tor, or any other browser or software.” He adds, “Our customers can use Tor at any time, as I have myself. I’m sure many of them are using it right now.”

Comcast Is Threatening To Cut Off Customers Who Use Tor, The Web Browser For Criminals [Business Insider via Yahoo News]

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