Comcast Tells Customers to Stop Using Tor Browser
Embattled Comcast has another complaint about customer service to add to its growing list. The cable and Internet provider has been telling customers that their service will be terminated if they don’t stop using the Tor web browser. According to a report by Deep.Dot.Web, multiple accounts of Comcast customer service crossing into monitoring customer activity online have been reported to them.
Comcast agents have reportedly contacted customers who use Tor, a web browser that is designed to protect the user’s privacy while online, and said their service can get terminated if they don’t stop using Tor. According to Deep.Dot.Web, one of those calls included a Comcast customer service agent named Jeremy, who allegedly described Tor as an “illegal service.” The use of Tor was then described as against Comcast usage policy.
According to the Comcast customer’s account, the customer service agent repeatedly asked the customer what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. During a follow-up call the next day, another Comcast customer service agent said again that Comcast doesn’t want customers to use Tor.
An account by the customer of their conversation with the Comcast representative as told to Deep.Dot.Web, alleges that Comcast has a very specific bias against Tor:
“Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the Internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules.”
A Comcast statement said they would never monitor a customer’s Internet usage without a proper warrant from a court. They used an opaque process recently, though, when they cooperated with the FBI to provide information on alleged Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht’s Internet use. He was arrested in San Francisco last October.
With the approach of Ulbricht’s trial, questions over how his Icelandic data center server was located have been raised by the defense. The computer was hidden by the anonymous software of Tor. According to Wired, the FBI has said in a new filing on the case that they found the location of the server by playing around with the Silk Road login page to find its location.
The FBI has made a point of dismissing any privacy concerned raised by Ulbricht’s defense. Among those concerns are a Fourth Amendment violation because of illegal searches and a warrantless search of the Silk Road server. Lawyers for Ulbricht have argued that privacy violations could undermine the government’s case by rendering evidence inadmissible.