While the UK is normally leading the way in monitoring its own civillians, the US is now looking at monitoring internet activity.
Charter Communications an ISP are looking to work with the NebuAd. The aim is to track customers web browsing habits, what a user searches for and sites they visit.
“Charter Communications Inc (Charter), an ISP and the third largest cable operator in the US, plans to test a web-tracking program in four cities which will track its customers’ web browsing, including search terms and URLs visited, and use that information to provide targeted advertising.
To do this Charter is partnering with an online ad firm, NebuAD, which has developed a system to categorize user profiles using packet inspection and shared user profiles with third-party advertisers. Customers would be permitted to opt out by installing a browser cookie; however, the cookie must be installed on every computer in the customer’s home and re-installed if the cookie is deleted.
Concerns expressed are that the monitoring and analysis of customers’ web browsing may violate privacy laws, and, specifically, that the use of an opt-out mechanism may contravene the US Communications Act, section 631 of which requires cable operators to use opt-in consent when collecting and using its subscribers’ personal information and web-browsing habits.”