Internet Providers Want To Know More About You Than Google Does, Privacy Groups Say
by Brian Fung, Washington Post
Most of us know, at least in the abstract, that Google and Facebook are tracking our every move online. Even Netflix collects detailed information on our binge-viewing habits, the better to make decisions about which films to drop from its catalog or what new TV series to invest in.
But what if I told you there are companies that can go much deeper than firms like Google and Facebook in their data-gathering prowess? Companies that not only know that you watch Netflix for two hours a day but also how long you spent reading this article before going back to Twitter and, at the same time, that you soon intend to go on a vacation because of all the time you spend browsing airfare sites?
Tech companies might enjoy access to a handful of these insights based on the data they gather when you visit their properties. But telecom and cable companies are in a position to learn much more about you, policy analysts say. That’s because Internet providers can see that you’re listening to Spotify while watching Netflix and Googling for reality TV shows at the same time — whereas each of those sites might only capture a slice of your overall Internet habits. And that gives Internet providers a major potential advantage.