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Comcast To Stop Tracking Users' Web Habits

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the you-don't-mean-my-credit-card-numbers dept.

News 181

jdavidb writes "According to this article, Comcast will no longer keep track of what its users view online." Good.

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Concise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002379)

Give a brief summary. Point to the article. Let us make up our own minds.

Personally, I liked Comcast watching my every move. If they didn't, who would?

damn you, AC. (-1, Offtopic)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002402)

Jeebus, you just screwed me up.

Anyway, take this:

When Lt. Barkley missed his weekly appointment, Counselor Deanna Troi decided to check up on him.'Computer, where is Lt. Barkley?'

'Lt. Barkley is in Holodeck Three'came the smooth voice of the computer.Deanna pursed her lips in annoyance.Reg was supposed to be staying away from the holodecks and should have required special permission to use them.On the other hand, Reg was also a very good engineer and could probably bypass any safeguards that were put on them.Troi signed and got up, heading out the door and for Holodeck Three.When she arrived, the computer (as she expected) would not let her in.

'Computer.Command code override Troi Alpha Beta 7 Gamma.'The holodeck doors swept open and closed behind Deanna as she entered.It took a few seconds for her to orientate herself as she emerged into a loud boisterous bar scene out of late 20th century earth.As she grew accustomed to the sounds, she heard moaning and gagging sounds coming from a pool table around which a dozen or so men were gathered.Unable to see what the men were watching, Troi pushed her way through to the front and stopped in shock.

She saw herself lying on the pool table.Naked.More than naked, she had one cock shoved up her ass, another in her pussy and a monster dick being shoved down her throat...hence the gagging sounds she had heard.Even as the astonished Counselor watched, the big dick fucking her duplicate's face pulled out and a huge load of cum shot all over her face.He was followed shortly by the other cocks fucking her as they emptied loads into the fake Troi while the real Deanna stood watching unable to move.Deanna felt a shiver run through her.....a mixture of disgust and lust as she watched the three men climb off her duplicate, leaving her lying there covered in their cum.

It was about then that the men gathered around the table noticed Deanna.'Whoooeee, the slut has got a twin sister!' said one man rubbing the bulge in his pants.Troi tried to back away from the circle of men, but rough hands grabbed her and thrust her up onto the pool table to lie beside her duplicate.

'Computer end program!' called out Troi as she found herself face to face with her cum slicked twin who was gaping at her in astonishment.

'Unable to comply.Voice overrides deactivated.' came the smooth computer voice.

Oh oh thought Deanna as she tried to scramble off the table.Reg is going to get such a piece of my mind when I find him.

'Hey, where you going honey?' asked one of the men around the table.He pushed her back down beside her duplicate.'Give your sister a kiss!'

Both of the Troi's eyes bulged out in horror as their faces were pushed together.A soft 'No' escaped both their lips simultaneously just as their lips brushed together.Apparently her duplicate had been programmed to act as much like the real thing as Reg could manage thought Deanna as their lips were mashed harshly together and she found herselfkissing her cum covered duplicate.She felt hands tugging at her uniform and as the two women were forced together, Deanna literally had her clothing ripped off.When all was said and done, she found herself naked and lying on top of her duplicate, kissing her hard on the mouth.The other Troi's cum smeared breasts felt warm under her and it took Deanna several seconds to realize she was no longer being held in place by the men.They had stepped back a bit to watch the two identical women kissing.Deanna felt her eyes go wide with astonishment as she realized that this was starting to turn her on and below her, her duplicate's face mirrored that astonishment.

Almost as if it had a mind of its own, Deanna's mouth began to trail down the neck of her twin until she reached a puddle of cum on the holo-Deanna's tits which she licked at.

'Stop, we shouldn't be doing this,' moaned her twin.'This is is worse than incest.....ahhhhhh'.

'Yes...yes it is,' agreed Deanna but she didn't stop licking the boobs of her duplicate.In fact, she began to lick and suck on them with even greater lust.The shiver of taboo swept over her.A small part of her mind nagged at her for lying there naked on top of a holo duplicate of herself, in essence making lesbian love to herself while a bar full of rough looking men watched her degrade herself.Maybe she could have stopped herself yet, but at that moment her duplicate's fingers slipped into Deanna's pussy and began to stroke her clit.Deanna gave a loud moan of pleasure and then bent her head back down to lick and suck with renewed enthusiasm at the tits of her twin.

Deanna felt one hand of her duplicate slide in and out of her pussy while the other one cupped her ass and drew Deanna down on top of her harder.Deanna no longer cared how wrong or forbidden what she was doing was, but just wanted to kiss and lick and be kissed and licked by this warm body underneath her.The two women broke their embrace as if with one mind and reformed into a 69 with the real Deanna Troi on top.Her mouth dipped into her duplicate's pussy and began to lick without hesitation at the mixture of pussy juices and cum she found there.For her own part, she was dripping wet now and her twin was licking furiously at her pussy which sent huge waves of pleasure through Deanna.

Heaving and writhing with ecstasy, Deanna finally came to her climax and she felt a similar shudder run through her duplicate at precisely the same moment.For long shuddering moments, Deanna lay there and then reality drifted back in the form of the men laughing, whistling and clapping.Oh my god, what have I done she thought as she looked around the circle of men, several of them who had their cocks out and were stroking them at the lesbian play of the counselor and her twin.

There was little time for remorse, however, as one of the men grabbed Deanna and pulled her head down onto his cock.The thick head pushed between her lips and Troi gagged slightly as he forced it further down her throat.Out of the corner of her eye, Deanna could see her duplicate being forced to blow another huge cock.Deanna knew the look of fear, mixed with lust and shame was mirrored on her own face as the cock slid in and out of her soft lips.Side by side the two women were forced to swallow the large cocks.Hands held their heads in places and forced them up and down in a steady rhythm on the face choking meat.The man fucking her face was moaning loudly and Deanna knew he was close to cumming.He is only a hologram she tried to reassure herself but then his cum flooded down her throat and it tasted very real.She saw that her duplicate was choking down her own huge load.

The cock pulled out of her mouth with a popping sound and some cum dribbled down her chin as Deanna lay there exhausted.Then she felt hands lifting her and before she knew it she felt herself being lowered onto a hard cock that slid up her ass.Then her breath was taken away as another cock slipped into her pussy and she found her the meat in a cock sandwich.As she opened her mouth to complain, another big sausage was shoved inside and she realized she was duplicating the scene she had first stumbled into.Sure enough, beside her on the table, her duplicate was getting the same triple treatment.The three cocks drove in and out of Deanna with unrelenting force and with uncanny timing as each cock drove to its deepest point at exactly the same time.The cocks in her ass and pussy seemed to be touching on each stroke while the one in her mouth was jammed twelve inches down her throat.The helpless counselor could do nothing but lie there being ravaged by the three hard cocks until finally with a repeat of the scene she had walked in on as the cock in her mouth pulled out and spewed its thick load over her face, followed a moment later by the surge of cum into her pussy and ass.

Deanna lay there on the pool table, table with cum dripping down her face wondering what was going to happen next when she heard a gasp from the back of the room and a figure hurried forward.It was Lt. Reg Barkley and he pushed his way through the crowd of men.Apparently he had been off to the holo-washroom or wherever and had missed the entrance of the counselor.'Oh my,' he said looking down at the two nude women.'Computer, I didn't order a second Counselor Troi.'

'I'm the real Counselor Troi Reg, said Deanna trying to cover her naked body and then giving up since he had obviously programmed this scene and her nude body was no stranger to him.

'Sigh.Just what I need,' muttered Reg.'A glitch in the holomatrix so the holograms think they are real.I better fix that right away before someone investigates.Computer.End Program.'

The computer was apparently programmed to respond only to Reg and the bar scene faded away into the black walls and yellow lines of the holodeck.The naked and cum covered Deanna was still there.

Reg looked around in puzzlement.'Computer, why is there still one of the holograms present after I told you to shut down the program.'

'The program is no longer running,' intoned the computer.

'Reg!I am the real Counselor Troi,' seethed Deanna.'You missed your appointment and I came looking for you only to get raped by your holoprogram!I will expect you in my office in one hour for a very long session of counseling.You are even more deeply disturbed than I realized!'With that Deanna turned and marched out of the holodeck.In her anger she had forgot she was stark naked and a couple of ensigns got quite an eyeful as she marched past them.A chagrined Deanna looked down at her nude body when she saw their stares.Oh well, she thought, at least the holo-cum had disappeared when she left the holodeck!

Re:Concise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002544)

That doesn't mean comedycast isn't the only data collection on us. When you make up your mind, try to consider the facts.

Slashdot stories are getting shorter. (4, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002380)


Re:Slashdot stories are getting shorter. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002500)

So are replies from trolls.


Re:Slashdot stories are getting shorter. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002509)

[angry comcast manager] By turning the switch on and off, you told we that we would get two long slashdot stories, how come the second one is short?
[publicity chief] I'm not sure what went wrong. We'll find something else.

Je suis... (-1, Offtopic)

sid silver (558084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002383)

La bombe! PS FP

Nice technical FP ! ... also.... (-1, Offtopic)

sid silver (558084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002424)

KDE is vastly superior to GNOME in so many ways it's not even funny.

Karma Suicide!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002390)

After 600+ posts and 20 articles, my karma has been peaked at 50 for what seems like forever now. My new campaign: Karma Suicide!! Every post from now until my karma's back at zero will be this short crapflood posted with my +1 bonus. So moderators: Do your worst! Mod me troll/flame/OT/Overrated/Whatever to get my karma back to where it began. Do this ASAP! And as for the rest of you, commit karma suicide today!

Re:Karma Suicide!!!!! (0, Offtopic)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002410)

christ....... i wish i had the amount of free time you do

Re:Karma Suicide!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002488)

It took you 600+ posts to get your karma to 50???

Re:Karma Suicide!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002516)

bah. It's been at 50 for a very long time (at least 400+ posts). my campaign has brought down to 30 thus far

Re:Karma Suicide!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002578)

good for you. Karma is bad.

Personally, I get upset anytime mine goes above -5. Unfortunately, I had a recent +4 funny(on an obviously offtopic troll) that stuck me almost into positive karma..Oh how the price of my genius is so very painfull

Oh sure they aren't (1, Insightful)

MikeDataLink (536925) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002398)

That just means they are not reporting it to other people. You can be guaranteed the still mornitor it and use it internally.



Privacy, finally! (1)

Kronos666 (555566) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002400)

It's bout time Comcast gave their users some peace. In fact, no company should ever be allowed to track users. For what we know, a lot of popular ISPs could be doing it right now.

Re:Privacy, finally! (3, Informative)

Digital11 (152445) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002591)

As if this hasn't been covered enough... But ISP's inherently track users. Pretty much every request is logged, its part of the business, get used to it. However, its not the tracking thats the problem, its what they do with it. If all that information does is sit in a log file until subpoena'd (or until the end of time, whichever comes first) then it does no harm. But ComCast was sharing (read: selling) the information to its valued associates. That's a big dirty no-no.

kick ass (2, Funny)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002401)

now i don't have to worry about them sending my room mate (whose name is on the account) spam based on my surfing habits.

Re:kick ass (3, Insightful)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002585)

Joking aside, I think this touches on a key point. It's not whether they have the information, but what they choose to do with it.

I don't particularly care if an ISP is logging my every move, as long as they don't use this information to as an excuse to send me more uninteresting junk email than they do already. Which is odd really, because I would have thought they would be more likely to send me offers I am interested in if they know what sort of things interest me.

Let's face it - most advertising these days is rubbish. I almost never see an ad that tells me something I really wanted to know. Leaflets dropped through my door are never to sell something I actually want. I don't want a new patio, factory price clothing, etc. I do want to know where locally I can buy a universal 6V power supply with built in NiMH battery charger (for example).

I know advertising isn't the only issue. But my point is that I am not really bothered about what information is stored about me - only about how it is used. If it is used well, it could be to my benefit.

Re:kick ass (3, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002851)

Let's face it - most advertising these days is rubbish. I almost never see an ad that tells me something I really wanted to know. Leaflets dropped through my door are never to sell something I actually want. I don't want a new patio, factory price clothing, etc. I do want to know where locally I can buy a universal 6V power supply with built in NiMH battery charger (for example).

The reason why advertising is rubbish is because it's so cheap to do so. Sooner of later they'll find someone who WANTS that new patio or factory price clothing and sooner or later someone will send you a piece of spam telling you where to get that power supply. The industry of junk mail/spam works on fringe markets that arn't covered by mainstream advertising because the impact on the person is so much lesser. It's not quite nobody who wants these things but just a very few people(which add up). Rather than the sledgehammer approach of mainstream advertising which is intended to sway a large and attentive target audience, junk mail is like throwing a bunch of darts at a few selected consumers.

Re:kick ass (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002872)

I'm glad you don't mind if they track EVERY move you make, just for the purpose of getting targetted spam. Hope ya don't mind when Ashcroft comes in with the National Guard behind him, to take all that information back to his office so it can be scrutinized over in his efforts to rid the world of the unpure. He may see that you went to one night and have you burned at the stake the next day.

So you can't just think about what Comcast will do with the information, it's what ANYBODY could do with the information.

link to article (2, Informative)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002405)

You can find the article here: ast.html As if AT&T isn't tracking users too?

Big Brother's Rationalization (4, Funny)

Halloween Jack (182035) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002418)

The 1984 law does allow cable operators to collect private information if it can show it needs the information to operate its service.

Comcast Executive Vice President Dave Watson said Tuesday that the company was recording no more information about its customers than is common in the industry and no more than needed to optimize its network.

"How else are we going to keep our customers if we don't have blackmail material?"

They aren't doing it to be nice! (4, Interesting)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002426)

From the article:

In response to the AP's coverage, Rep. Ed Markey, an aggressive privacy advocate in Congress, pressed Comcast President Brian Roberts in a letter Wednesday about the recording. Markey said the company's action could be in violation of federal law.

Sounds like they are just pre-empting a move by the FCC instead of acting benevolent.

Re:They aren't doing it to be nice! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002847)

Well duh! A public company's only mandate is to generate as much profit as possible within the operating environment that they exist in. Do not make the mistake of giving any for-profit corporation the "benefit of the doubt" as you might a person. There is no doubt. The only thing that stops companies from stomping all over customer's privacy, health, and liberty are negative PR, and government regulation.

Lawmaker Questions Comcast's Web Tracking (4, Informative)

iiii (541004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002427)

This might have something to do with it.

The Washington Post [] has this article [] about how Rep. Ed Markey [] is looking into Comcast [] 's collection of personal internet usage info. Hey, this guy must read SlashDot!!

Markey, D-Mass., in a letter to Comcast President Brian Roberts, wrote that he was concerned about "the nature and extent of any transgressions of the law that may have resulted in consumer privacy being compromised."

Also, Comcast has a new press release [] in response to the fracas.

Re:Lawmaker Questions Comcast's Web Tracking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002541)

You forgot Funny (Homo)=+1 as one of the kinds of funny.

I demand that my demographic be represented!

Re:Lawmaker Questions Comcast's Web Tracking (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002702)

> [Rep. Ed] Markey, D-Mass., in a letter to Comcast President Brian Roberts, wrote that he was concerned about "the nature and extent of any transgressions of the law that may have resulted in consumer privacy being compromised."

What are you hiding, Rep. Markey? ;-)

(Seriously - give 'em hell, Rep. Well done.)

Use babelfish... (5, Funny)

ajuda (124386) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002439)

What the story said:
Comcast said in a statement that it will stop storing the information "in order to completely reassure our customers that the privacy of their information is secure."

After using the MBA -> English translator on Babelfish, we get:
Oh shoot, you cought us, so we will pretend we care about you. HAHA, we will just find another way to treat y'all like cattle. BTW: Please don't sue me.

could someone build this please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002714)

I would love to run some of our interoffice memos through that translator.

This would concern me if... (-1, Offtopic)

sid silver (558084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002445)

I was able to FUCKING STAY CONNECTED long enough for Comcast to get anything on me. Fucking Comcast. hate 'em hate 'em hate 'em

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

headchimp (524692) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002448)

Wonder if (still?) they track people's usage of Newsgroups. Because let's face it, alot of warez and pr0n are exchanged that way.

Re:Hmm... (-1, Flamebait)

sid silver (558084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002469)

There are plenty of other places for you to get your kiddy porn.

who cares (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002456)

comcast sucks. I tried calling them twice to sign up for cable modem. both times their clueless account reps said the system was down or some tripe. I had already ordered a cable modem; when I got it, I plugged it in, booted my pc and was on the net. Nice security losers. Am I really supposed to worry about a company this clueless tracking me?

Why doesn't this make me feel better? (4, Interesting)

GSloop (165220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002458)

This is like riding down the road with Guido (sorry all italians) who says..."Ya know punk, I'm going to kill you." He pulls out his gun and gets ready to pull the trigger, when Guido sees a cop car pull along side. Guido promptly puts away his gun.

Do you:

A) Say, "Hey Guido is a great guy...see he didn't kill me. He must not be so bad after all.

B) Think Guido is a scumbag. He would have killed me if not for the threat of the cop. I don't think I'll continue to associate with Guido. In fact I think I'll just out of the truck right now...

If you picked A, please drink the Koolaid now.

Comcast and a whole host of other unethical companies don't give a hoot about you. Sure they might not rape you this week, but as soon as they can get away with it, they will.

With our Gvmt from, by and for Big business, these occurances are going to happen more often. And don't expect to see the cop that saved Guido. Gvmt doesn't have the funds to protect the little guy anymore.


Re:Why doesn't this make me feel better? (1)

Mr. Piccolo (18045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002517)

I pick C: Wuss.

Re:Why doesn't this make me feel better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002545)

I know, it should be the Cop that saved you, not Guido. But with our "The best Gvmt money can buy", it soon will be the cop that saved _Guido_


Re:Why doesn't this make me feel better? (0)

Paolomania (160098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002799)

Being of Italian desent, I take great offense at this racial slur and stereotypical comment, bout moreso at its being moderated so highly. I would hope that none of the moderators belong to cultures or ethnicities which temselves are disparaged with ethnic slurs. Would you have been upset if the parent post had been anti-, even with the "disclaimer"? I thought so.

Re:Why doesn't this make me feel better? (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002863)

Yea, but if you've been involved with Guido for a long time and the service Guido offers is worth the risk, you gotta continue associating with Guido, just make sure you keep friendly with the cop too.

covering their asses somewhat (1)

SplendidIsolatn (468434) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002459)

This will also save them a lot of time and hassle should subpoenas ever come around asking for specific users' habits. Plus, less overhead and cost in terms of keeping track of this stuff. Not the world's worst decision by any means.

Concentrate on doing your business well (2, Insightful)

2Bits (167227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002461)

Comcast is just an ISP, and I don't understand why ISPs want to record that kind of information. For god sake, if you are an ISP, concentrate on providing good bandwidth and good customer services. Why stretching thin (like collecting user's surfing behavior) and pissing off your customers on all fronts? ISP can be a profitable business if you do it right, just like any other businesses anyways.

Re:Concentrate on doing your business well (1)

SpectreGadget (465507) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002496)

It's very simple answer. If they can get away with providing your ISP services AND sell your usage statistics to companies who want to spam.. I mean sell you something, they end up with two lucrative revenue streams.

Only if they can get away with it without someone squealing, of course.

Re:Concentrate on doing your business well (1)

jlower (174474) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002535)

I don't understand why ISPs want to record that kind of information

I know the answer to that one. It's because this data can be sold for cold, hard cash.

If they were (as they said) really aggragating the data before using it, I wouldn't care - as long as they provided an opt-out option. TiVo openly does this and it's an important part of their business model.

Re:Concentrate on doing your business well (3, Insightful)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002576)

"For god sake, if you are an ISP, concentrate on providing good bandwidth and good customer services."

Did you bother reading the article? Comcast's position was that they were using the data to help them make performance related improvements. You're more than welcome to attack the validity of Comcast's statement, but you aren't doing that.

Instead, all you're saying, "Comcast should be doing X." after Comcast has already said, "We were doing Y as a means of doing X." That doesn't really further the discussion at all. A more valuable post might cover, "Here's why it's better to do X via a means other than Y." or "Here's why Y isn't necessary for doing X at all." or even "Here's why I think they're lying when they say their only motive is X."

Re:Concentrate on doing your business well (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002666)

Except that it's obvious to anyone with a brain that Y (collecting should-be-private user information) doesn't contribute in any way to X (providing faster, more reliable service.) If you're collecting my private information, the burden of proof is on you to show me why such collection is beneficial, not on me to show why it isn't.

Whats the benifit? (2, Interesting)

pagercam2 (533686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002476)

What do these companies hope to gain? All this market research stuff seems pretty worthless to me. These firms may watch where I surf, but the only real thing they want/need to know is where I'll spend my next purchase. I may surf porn all day and then buy music, I don't generally surf/purchase in any sort of direct proportion, and I suspect most people don't. I may do some research before buying a DVD player, but what I may look at and what I buy may or may not come from watching my surfing habits. So they get lots of information but does it really have any worth to a retailer???? Noticing that I frequent /. probably doesn't help sell anything. I am constantly amazed that people expect to make money off the internet, the internet has grown only becasue things are free or maybe cheaper than in the real world, people don't expect to have to pay for info on the web, and many only use the web to get info on store purchases, the prices may not be as good but having the item in my hand rather than waiting for Mr UPS is what matters!

Re:Whats the benifit? (3, Interesting)

immanis (557955) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002599)

Hey, noticing that you surf porn and /. all day does give them something to work with.

Now they can target-market you for sex toys and geek stuff instead of sports equipment. That must be why we get all those email messages about enlarging your johnson 4-6 inches.

Trend analysis is an old field. And like it or not, generalizations can be made about a person's web surfing habits. They won't always be right, but they frequently will be close. And they may only get you to make one purchase more a year than you would have otherwise. But that is more than nothing.

Worth the expense? Now that is the bigger question. For users like you or I? Prolly not. For average users?

Of course. How do you think these people keep jobs?

Re:Whats the benifit? (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002743)

> These firms may watch where I surf, but the only real thing they want/need to know is where I'll spend my next purchase. I may surf porn all day and then buy music, I don't generally surf/purchase in any sort of direct proportion, and I suspect most people don't.

Someone oughta do some cross-correlation of Subject: lines of USENET headers and keyword searches on music databases.

I know I've often typed in things like "$BAND_NAME discography" within a day or so of downloading MP3s of a band I've previously never heard of.

I don't know how useful it would be useful for marketing purposes, as I've already got everything I need to know to make up my mind whether I wanna buy the album or not.

But if I owned an online music store, I'd think I'd like to have a google-zeitgeist kind of "most popular searches over time" and watch for spikes in rarely-searched terms, and match those spikes with postings of MP3s in the MP3 hierarchies.

Slashdot Effect (1)

Digital11 (152445) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002480)

Wow... A new definition of the Slashdot Effect. Post an article, alot of people bitch, and they stop doing it... Hmm.. Kinda fishy.

Proxies? Blech (1)

MantridDronemaker (541253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002493)

The article mentions that all users are forced to go through proxies. That kind of sucks; just more of these high speed ISPs trying to limit what you do with the Internet. Next thing they'll be charging premiums to play EverQuest or Quake or whatever.

Re:Proxies? Blech (0)

CheezyD (548557) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002663)

SHHHHHHHHH! They'll see this and get ideas like charging people for each port they use. $39.95 for port 80, $45,95 for 80 and 21, $65.95 for 80, 21 and 27000, and their Platinum Plan for $99.95 will let you use all the ports including 666, 12345, 31337, etc for NetBus and Back Orifice.

Proxies? Why? (1, Insightful)

PowerTroll 5000 (524563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002498)

To speed performance, these proxy computers retain copies of the most-popular Web sites that customers visit.

We don't need that. Web surfers already have something like that on a personal, local level. It's called web cache.

This was an largely unnecessary step to "improve performance", and a lousy excuse to collect the data in the first place.

Re:Proxies? Why? (1)

GLX (514482) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002547)

Well, in all fairness, think of something like September 11th.... Everyone and their grandmother wants to go to and see what's going on - Comcast is just trying to optimize the bandwidth they use going upstream, and in the process it also ensures that everyone can see the webpage (instead of having the lovely Slashdot effect..)

Still, Comcast's actions are inexcusable, and not really for technical reasons (@Home had caching transparent proxies for years..)

Re:Proxies? Why? (3, Informative)

B1 (86803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002670)

We don't need that. Web surfers already have something like that on a personal, local level. It's called web cache.

One of the benefits of going through a caching proxy is that the cache is centralized, and available to everybody. This can amount to a huge upstream bandwidth savings for an ISP.

If ten customers go directly to, the ISP will download from its upstream provider ten times--the fact that customer A visits the site doesn't help customer B, since their browser caches are private. For that matter, if customer A switches between Netscape and IE, he will have to download the page again, since each browser maintains its own independent cache.

With ten customers going through a transparent caching proxy, the ISP caches the page once, and serves it from the cache ten times. This is a huge savings on upstream bandwidth, and improves performance for everybody. sees less load on their server, visitors load the CNN website faster, and customers visiting have more upstream bandwidth available.

Re:Proxies? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002695)

Congratulations - YHBT

You think you might have noticed from the original poster's header - but here ya go in case you missed it:

Proxies? Why? (Score:1)

by PowerTroll 5000 on Wednesday February 13, @02:30PM (#3002498)
(User #5245)

Re:Proxies? Why? (2, Informative)

TeddyR (4176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002783)

Personally I am ALL FOR caches... Just make them optional so that I can turn it off in the very rare situations that it breaks someting.

There are several protocols that allow the end user to automatically detect the cache servers that they need to use.

I have used and deployed several squid proxy-caches that I was able to prove reduced the required border bandwidth utilization in organizations by around 20%. Of course this means that the caches and the hiarchy needs to be thought out in advance. Network planning 101... for an existing cache hiarchy that you can freely connect with.

Why record it in the first place? (2, Insightful)

immanis (557955) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002501)

Corporate sutpidity amazes me.

In a company that big, certainly someone should have been capable of raising a red flag on this.

And whoever it was that ignored the red flag had to know that people find these things out.

Odds are if ComCast had said, before they did anything, "the information will be stored only temporarily, will be purged automatically every few days and will never be connected to individual subscribers," and had the followed through on that promise, they could have avoided a huge PR hit.

Instead, they went beyond simple caching, and now everyone is asking the same question:

"If you weren't going to tie it back to the users, why were you recording user information in the first place?"

Re:Why record it in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002709)

Actually, people wouldn't have been especially impressed even if Comcast had said the info was just being stored temporarily. From a article:

"The data could be subject to subpoena by the government or by parties in civil litigation, said David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Even if Comcast doesn't use the data, it might be forced to turn it over to someone else."

More Info (3, Informative)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002512)

In response to previous claims [] of Comcast [] intercepting packets, the company pledged today [] "to immediately stop recording the Web browsing activities of each of its 1 million high-speed Internet subscribers." This after the Associated Press [] announced on Tuesday [] that the company "has started recording the Web browsing activities of each of its 1 million high-speed Internet subscribers without notifying them of the change."

Slashdot effect... (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002525)

This adds new meaning. There couldn't possibly be ANYONE else who doesn't want their private information shared with everyone.

yeah, right (0)

CheezyD (548557) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002533)

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said, "We do not track the personal Web activity of our members for privacy reasons." The truth is, AOL has been doing this for years. I knew a guy on @Home that had his bandwidth cut for running an ftp server because AOL ratted him out. They may not watch everything, but I know they track IP's and ports. And do their proxies still convert all the .jpg images to .art files?

Re:yeah, right (2, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002705)

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said, "We do not track the personal Web activity of our members for privacy reasons."

Obviously, this was taken out of context. Mr. Graham then went on to mutter to himself, "We do it for business reasons, not privacy reasons."

Thanks slashdot (5, Informative)

$carab (464226) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002549)

Big Kudos to the moderator (timothy) who was willing to take a chance on an anonymous bugtraq tip. I just got off the phone with Comcast tech support, and they said, essentially, that if this information had never leaked out, they would still be monitoring my internet usage.

Just looking at the original article right here [] , I was very suprised by all the "This is not news posts" that got modded +5.

Quite simply, this is news, and this is not a simple proxy server either, according to Comcast tech support. Slashdot took a big risk in posting this story, and I think everyone that hollered about the original story being a bust owes a big apology to timothy.

It's good Comcast has finally seen the light (or have had it thrust in their faces), but I am still looking for a new ISP. I think this image [] really explains why:
Curious jumps everywhere
High ping times

I'm afraid Comcast just isn't cutting it any more. Since my area is a Comcast monopoly, I tihnk its time that we pressured our public officials to break up this monopoly.

As I told the rep: "I hope you realize that if a competitor, ANY competitor, breaks up your cable monopoly here, you will lose all your market share."
And he said:
"Yeah, I know"

they stopped tracking web surfing habits but... (1)

Hooya (518216) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002551)

that's not saying they won't participate in this. []

why? (1)

jonestor (443666) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002565)

So why were they recording it in the first place if they weren't using it?

the reason for this is (1)

Hooya (518216) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002579)

that they don't want to compete with the vast resources of the gummint. []

Who's surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002587)

They're not recording it because it's no longer necessary. Big bro' is taking care of it...

To much trust in Corporate-Speak (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002588)

This just In...Enron exec says future looks bright...RayBan stock rises...

Jeez you guys will believe anything...I bet they are still tracking, just saying they arent...unless, they just ran out of tapes to spool the logs off to...

Comcast blocking Polish websites? (1)

Leviathant (558659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002589)

This article comes as good news, but there's something really odd I noticed at a friends house... they use Comcast's cable service, and can not access -any- websites with .pl domains. Anyone know what's up with that?

Re:Comcast blocking Polish websites? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002830)

I'm not having this problem. I'm on a Comcast connection, and the following Polish web sites come up just fine:

Maybe you need to plug in your PC first?

The real reason (1)

mrroot (543673) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002596)

The real reason is that it takes alot of money in both storage and DBA costs to collect this data. It used to be worth it but with the current state of the economy, this kind of clickstream data is less sought after by advertisers and has pretty much become worthless information.

Sure they want you to think they are just being nice guys, but it is purely an economic decision I assure you.

Re:The real reason (0)

CheezyD (548557) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002730)

It's ALMOST worthless, but not totally worthless. If they get the habits of say 500,000 users at $.001 each, thats ... um ... some money!

Comcast Annoyances (1)

reflexreaction (526215) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002605)

As someone who stupidly gave out his cell phone as his main contact number with the cable company when I had no other phone I have been unerringly called on it to inform me that:
1)my @home e-mail is going to die (who needs me@home when you got
2)that they were upgrading their network and needed to make sure that DHCP was on
3)and wonder of all wonders that they are better than the Dish Networks (Direct TV) even though they have worse service and cost more.

These calls continue despite all my 8 seperate efforts to change this number to my new house number. I think that Comcast owes me at least a little privacy.

I never cease to be amazed... (1)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002607) what companies will do in the name of the almighty dollar. What goes through people's heads in these companies when they decide to do things like spy on their users? And how do they think it's going to benefit them?

For the sake of argument, imagine that a company like Comcast decided to start monitoring everything their users did without telling anyone - and that nobody ever discovered what they were doing. They monitored and monitored for years, tracking every move every customer made on the Internet, and nobody ever caught on. Then what? Do they sell this information to market research firms? Do they use it for their own in-house market research? In the end, under the most favorable circumstances, just how much money do they think they could make off a scam like this?

And in the end they have so much more to lose than to gain. Even though they say they are no longer going to monitor their users, I will never become a Comcast customer because of this. They can't be trusted (of course, not many companies can, if any), but even moreso, they were too stupid to realize what the repercussions of monitoring their users might be. This is what utterly amazes me. How many times have companies gotten nailed for spying or other underhanded tactics like selling user information? We hear about new cases all the time. Companies such as MS, Real Networks, etc. (and now even KaZaA) have shipped spyware (and sometimes been sued for massive amounts of money) and gotten nailed. Yet idiot companies like Comcast continue to pull this crap.

I wish I was a better student of human nature. I'm afraid I'll never understand what drives people to such stupidity.

Alan Thicke. DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002609)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon.
He will be missed :(

Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other []
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Watch out. (0)

estoll (443779) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002610)

It's the same thing going on everywhere. There isn't much the end user or small businesses can do. You are either a big ass or you are being sat on. The federal govt can't do anything because they are controlled by large corporations. Big deal, a bunch of people spoke up and they said, "Okay, we'll stop." They know its wrong, everyone knows its wrong, but they still get away with it. Why? Because there is no one regulating them. People can't spend all their time accusing large corporations of immoral activities just hoping you catch them now and again. We need an active organization going around checking up on these kinds of activities and actually punishing corporations for their wrong-doing. Now does that seem so difficult? :)

Good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002612)

Maybe TacoBell should stop spamming his child-porn collection accross the website.

now if only (0)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002617)

they would quit trying to charge people extra for using VPN prots.

Comcast, you cheeky monkey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002621)

You was looking at me bum, weren't you?

Uh-huh... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002627)

Comcast says they're going to stop yadda yadda.

Is there any way a customer could actually find out if they really did?

Flooding the market. (3)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002630)

Let's see how many companies want to gather your personal information:

Real Networks

Hmmm. Seems to me that the market is flooded with companies trying to sell consumer statistics. With all that competition, how do any of them expect to make any money?

Reminds me when banner ads were all the rage. Everyone assumed they would get a good return for their advertising dollar.

Re:Flooding the market. (1)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002794)

Seems to me that the market is flooded with companies trying to sell consumer statistics. With all that competition, how do any of them expect to make any money?

Easy. Someone comes along and offers to perform a matchback on the data, buying data from each of the companies mentioned. The more 'competitors' chasing after information, the more robust the matchback.

I Just Switched! (1)

advtech (176011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002632)

Well, this is just great. I have had such horrible customer service issues with Comcast, topped off by their disrespect for my browsing privacy, that I switched my Internet service to the phone company's DSL. Now that they've changed the policy, I am stuck with slower service. Bah.

Although, now that I think about it, they probably would have invaded my privacy some other way. Once a crook, always a crook.


It only says they'll stop storing it (2, Informative)

deadsquid (535515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002634)

I'd like to know what that means. Storing in this case may just mean archiving, or at least long-term storage of the data. The story doesn't say they'll stop tracking the usage, only that they won't store it. Not being overly suspicious, it was just the verbage used seemed kind of broad to me.

Security/Privacy audit (4, Interesting)

lostboy2 (194153) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002649)

Hmmm... this may be off-topic, but...

At my first .com job, we were developing software that would, among other things, collect and store demographic info from its users (whatever the users entered in certain demographic fields in the software options/properties, IIRC).

However, our assertion was that the data we collected could not be used to trace use of the software back to an individual. That is, we were collecting data anonymously for its aggregate value, only.

In order to make this claim, we planned to subject ourselves to an audit of our security by some third-party company who, supposedly, was good and well-known for this kind of audit.

The audit was supposed to verify that the data was stored in such a way as to make it impossible to trace back to the end user, that the security of our data from external attack and also to ensure that our internal policies were adequate (e.g., that only appropriate employees had access to the data and/or the systems that stored that data, that only certain employees had the ability to grant other employees access, that strict policies were in place regarding the change of such priviledges, etc.).

In light of this, I often wonder when companies claim "we're only using personal information for $X" or "we're doing this to ensure the privacy of our customers"
*) do they really need to collect the personal info to do $X?
*) have they gone through an audit to verify that this private info is secure?
*) if not, why not?

Actually, because Me.jaded = True, I think I know the answers to these questions, but it still doesn't stop me from wondering.

Anyway, I'm glad Comcast will stop collecting this info, but it sounds like someone saying "I'm going to stop hitting you now. Aren't I wonderful?"

-- D.

Slashdot still tracks your data! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002675)

They then sell it to OSDN to buy advertisers, then the use the revenue to fund the Al'GNU terrorist group! They write illegal software and then they illegally distribute the source code over the internet. This is used by hackers and other terrorist groups! Some of their infamous tools include

  • GNU b@$h, a command line filled with hacker tools
  • Al'Lunix, a pirated version of UNIX
  • GNUHG - Illegal Encryption
  • G/\0/\/\£ - a hackers desktop used to hack secret servers

So beware, slashdot supports terrorism!

Already made a quick buck, where's the info going? (2, Insightful)

Jon Howard (247978) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002687)

Comcast reassured customers Wednesday that the information had been stored only temporarily, was purged automatically every few days and "has never been connected to individual subscribers." But it said it will stop recording the information, anyway.

Funny how it doesn't say anything about not being transferred or duplicated. Of course, "individual subscribers" is not the same thing as "subscriber clusters" or "market groups"... what's the granularity they did use?

He said that while the company was recording details about customer Web browsing, it did not use the information to build profiles of online consumer behavior.

Of course not, there are other companys who do that for you!

"Comcast absolutely does not share personal information about our customers, and we have the utmost respect for our customers' privacy," Watson said.

He doesn't say that they don't sell it, or for that matter, what they do use it for.

Either way, the info they collected before they stopped was very likely sold, and it was worth a lot of money. This would be a handy trick to swap some PR for some quick cash if the need arose.

Anonymizer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002726)

I'm sure this kind of monitoring is widespread. For the overly paranoid, you could get an anonymizer secure shell account and establish an encryped tunnel between your machine and the anonymizer servers for browsing and ftp, taking your ISP out of the loop. The anonymizer can also serve as your proxy for http. Pretty good end to end protection. This of course assumes you can trust services like the anonymizer.

Fastest speeds in a month (3, Interesting)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002727)

I use Comcast for my internet access; and I live near Detroit, one of the cities mentioned where Comcast admitted to using their sniffing programs.

For the last several weeks I have been using the speed test on to monitor my cable modem because it had seemed very sluggish. My download speed was not over 400Kbps in the past two weeks.

I just checked my speed, and at 4:00 in the afternoon, I recorded a speed of 963Kbps, which I deem acceptable for this time of day based on past experience.

A sudden 140% increase in speed for no reason at all? I think not!

I don't see what the big deal was (0)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002733)

Obviously, they need to collect data on which websites their customers visit the most so that traffic to those sites can be given priority at their routers and such. Not to mention that they could offer colocation to companies such as Yahoo so that the requests don't even have to leave Comcast's network.

If they really wanted to invade your privacy and sell your information to other companies, they'd have done it already without being so open about it. Hell, they control the mail servers and the proxy servers, they already have all your data. I trust them, why doesn't anyone else?

Re:I don't see what the big deal was (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002827)

they weren't open about it. Some net savvy people started noticing odd things being done to their tcp packets. The company that provided Comcast with the software to do this even came out today and said they were collecting more than was needed.

info []

Credit where credit is due? (1)

allankim (558661) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002756)

While I'm grateful to the Associated Press for picking up this story and running with it, I find nothing in any of their coverage that credits "J. Edgar Hoover," Bugtraq, or Slashdot. Just "The Associated Press reported Tuesday ..." or "In response to the AP's coverage ..."

As a former journalist, this bothers me. There's nothing wrong with scanning message boards, listservs, etc. for tips, but credit should go where credit is due.

Doesn't AOL technically do the same thing? (2, Interesting)

Yankovic (97540) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002769)

First, we have no idea whether or not Comcast is technically doing bad things(tm) with our data or not. I'm glad they're not collecting it any more, but i never really cared in the first place. "You have no privacy... get over it."

Second, couldn't AOL technically be considered to do the exact same thing? Every web page you access on AOL is not direct but through AOL's proxies. That proxy is a store for pages and, though it's not necessarily tied to individual users, it certainly could be if they so desire. Is this what Comcast was doing? Or something similar?

I mean look at what AOL's proxies do. They:
a) Take a request from a user
b) Go out and gets that information
c) Hold a store of that information (so other users can access it in the future)

all you need is:
d) Store a record of who requested it

And you've got the exact same thing. And Comcast (claimed) that they never tied individual records to a single account... without the technical details on what each of them is doing, that's the same thing to me.

Paranoid people (2)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002817)

Y'all are all paranoid. Geez, I think ComCast is giving an absolutely legitimate reason for their efforts. First of all, why trace it back to the source? Because you want to know what to cache in what areas. Personally, if that's what they're really doing it for, then good for them. I respect the idea that my ISP is trying to provide the best possible service by reducing bandwidth.

Personally, I think everyone is way too paranoid about this invasion of privacy stuff. I could care less if they know I'm going to whatever sites I go to. If it's going to get them to me faster, cool!

Hell, that's part of the reason I run Squid on my Linux router at home anyway.

I need help, slashdot!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002837)

I am having real trouble with my cable modem, and I wonder if any of you can help..

My modem will not work if I add it after the second (5-900MHz) splitter on my cable line. My question: Are there special splitters for cable modems, or can I use a signal amplifier to boost the signal past the splitter? Thanks for all your help!!

I know, -1 Offtopic..

Re:I need help, slashdot!! (1)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002878)

Yes, it's OT but I'm a nice guy.

I'd seriously just try and put the cable modem right after the first splitter. Apparently the signal used to carry net traffic is not terribly strong; when I had mine installed, the cable guy replaced my RG-59U cable with something a bit thicker and said it has lower loss.

AFAIK there's not a whole lot you can do. If it would be in an inconvenient place, I suppose you could use a wireless hub from Linksys or someone.

maybe (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002856)

maybe they couldn't find a buyer for the data, so they just gave up storing it.

NPR Connection? (4, Interesting)

handorf (29768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3002865)

You know... I heard Bob Edwards mention this as one of the 30 second news bits on Morning Edition this morning.

Coincidince? Somehow I think not. It's outlets like that that bring news to the many users of Comcast who DON'T read slashdot and aren't geeks, but occasionally enjoy a little evil goat pr0n on the side. And they vote.

one word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002901)


Logging plaintext of SSL is possible (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3002902)

It is quite possible for a transparent proxy to log the plaintext of a SSL transmission through an active man-in-the-middle attack. Check out http:// . According to the site, it works by exploiting weak bindings in ad-hoc PKI. I have no idea if this still works on modern browsers, but if it does, then even using SSL will not stop comcast from collecting data.
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