Attorney General: Attorney General Calls For Immediate Federal Action On Internet Spying

Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Calls For Immediate Federal Action On Internet Spying

July 9, 2008

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today called for immediate federal action by a U.S. Senate committee to stop Internet service providers and third party marketers from tracking consumers' Internet browsing activities.

As the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today conducted a hearing on the matter, Blumenthal formally urged U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Ted Stevens to take expedited action to prohibit Internet service providers and marketers from tracking consumers' Internet activities.

Congress has already moved to protect consumer privacy through the Cable Communications Policy Act and Electronic Communications Privacy Act -- prohibiting cable companies from tracking consumers' television viewing habits. Blumenthal said both laws must be strengthened to emphatically and effectively ban Internet tracking by Internet service providers.

Blumenthal recently urged Charter Communications to abandon its plan to collect and share its Connecticut consumers' Internet activities with a third-party marketing company. Charter has agreed to suspend the program -- but failed to renounce all future plans to monitor its consumers, Blumenthal said.

"Monitoring consumer Internet browsing is a gross invasion of privacy for the sake of profit," Blumenthal said. "It threatens to make every consumer life an open book. Widely strewn to unknown websites and marketers would be highly sensitive and personal information such as medical conditions or family problems and financial interests.

"In this brave new world, every movement or activity by consumers on the Internet will be recorded, collected and compiled into huge databases and then sold to marketers. Consumers will be bombarded with relentless and repeated advertising. Their personal activities and interests will be exposed to potential security breaches, just as countless breaches nationwide have opened private confidential financial information to potential misuse and identity theft.

"This problem is neither speculative nor specious. It is very real and it is imminent. We are on the cusp of a new deep, enduring paradigm, fraught with perils to privacy. "