The Congressional dragnet over Internet privacy caught another fish. This one is owned by one of DC’s most important institutions — The Washington Post Company (WPO).
In a response to a House query, WaPo unit Cable One admitted it collected data on 14,000 subscribers in Anniston, Ala. for 180 days in order to serve targeted advertising. And no, they didn’t ask for consent, but argued that customers “opted in to our monitoring of their Internet usage … when they agreed to our Acceptable Use Policy.” In other words, when they signed up for service.
Does this sound familiar? It should. Cable One used NebuAd, the Silicon Valley ad targeting firm that has been used by other cable outfits to the exact same thing.
Are we going to hear about even more cable companies who’ve used the firm? Maybe. Congressmen John Dingell (D-Mich), Joe Barton (R-Tex) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent letters to 33 broadband providers last month asking about their ad-targeting techniques. So far, Charter Communications (CHTR) and former Sprint (S) unit Embarq (EQ) have copped to using NebuAd.
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