CenturyTel puts the brakes on NebuAd

Add another ISP to the list of those that have put off the implementation of NebuAd's controversial behavioral tracking ad platform. Last week Charter Communications said it was putting tests on hold after subscribers expressed concern about privacy issues; this week it’s CenturyTel’s turn to back off NebuAd.

CenturyTel isn’t being quite as customer-centric as Charter, saying the move instead was prompted by requests from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who said the technology "raises several red flags."

"We have delayed implementation [of NebuAd] so that Congress has the time it needs to address the issues and policies associated with these services," CenturyTel spokeswoman Annmarie Sartor said. It’s quite a 180 considering that a CenturyTel spokesman last week pooh-pooed the Charter move as related to cable industry regs that didn’t apply to telcos. The telco, among the first providers to test NebuAd, said it had planned to go live with the software sometime this summer.

Markey last week praised Charter for its actions and added “I urge other broadband companies considering similar user profiling programs to similarly hold off on implementation while these important privacy concerns can be addressed."

NebuAd behavioral tracking has raised the hackles of a number of privacy groups in the U.S. including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, Public Knowledge, and Free Press.

Nevertheless, CenturyTel says it still supports NebuAd.

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