Barbara Leonard reports on a federal class action lawsuit filed in Kansas City against two ISPs that allegedly secretly installed “unprecedented, extraordinarily pervasive” spyware on their broadband networks, allowing them to spy on and profile their customers for targeted online advertising.
The class claims that from late 2007 to July 2008, Delaware-based Embarq Management and United Telephone Co. of Eastern Kansas funneled Internet users’ communications to NebuAd, a third-party advertising company.
The spyware, which was tied to users’ Internet Services Provider addresses, left undeletable tracking cookies and could not be detected through individual privacy or security settings, according to the complaint.
NebuAd monitored and profiled individual users – eavesdropping on their email and search histories – to send targeted advertising on Web pages that the users visited, the class claims.
NebuAd is not named as a defendant. Both Embarq and United Telephone do business as CenturyLink, according to the complaint.
The case is Kirch v. Embarq Management.