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Embarq Delivers Targeted Ads to Subscribers »

Earlier this year, the Embarq Corporation conducted a trial wherein they delivered targeted advertising to their subscribers.  It worked by monitoring the websites their subscribers visited and then displaying advertising based on those web surfing habits.

According to the Associated Press, Embarq conducted the test in the Gardner, Kansas, USA area on a group of 26,000 subscribers.  Did the company give those subscribers the opportunity to opt-out of this program?  Evidently yes.  Their online privacy policy contained a general notification of the program.  But no customers were directly informed.  Embarq said that 15 people did opt out, but unless you read the online privacy policy, you had no idea that you were being monitored and targeted.

embarq.jpgIt is this method of announcement that has caused a stir.  Visit the Embarq home page and see how long it takes you to find the privacy policy link.  Maybe that is why only 15 people opted out and why Embarq faced congressional questioning  to explain its notification process.

Embarq is the DSL provider of choice in our area, the North Carolina coast, so its subscribers would do well to monitor this story and to review the online privacy policy to make sure they are ok with everything.