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FTC Calls Out Internet Providers for Amassing User Browsing Data

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A Comcast service van.

Comcast is one of six major Internet Service Providers called out by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for amassing and sharing user data.

Credit: Ry Crist/CNET

A new Federal Trade Commission staff report filed Thursday points the finger at six of the largest internet service providers in the US, calling each out for amassing troves of personal data from their customers and failing to offer meaningful disclosures or options to control the collection of that data.

The six ISPs in question -- Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, AT&T and Google Fiber -- account for roughly 98% of the mobile internet market in the US, notes the report. With each, the FTC "identified several troubling data collection practices," including cases in which the ISP had combined user data including browsing history and app usage across product lines in order to serve them targeted ads; had grouped users according to sensitive identifiers like race or sexual orientation; and had shared the consumer's real-time location data with third parties.

From CNet
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