UniTel Statement on Repeal of Internet Privacy Protections

On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill voted on by the United States House of Representatives and earlier by the U.S. Senate approving a resolution that would overturn a broadband privacy regulation the Federal Communications Commission adopted in October of last year.

UniTel is an Internet Service Provider with customers in Unity, Dixmont, Newburgh, Albion, Troy, Thorndike, Knox, Burnham and surrounding communities, with additional customers in Belfast through its affiliate, Bluestreak. UniTel is locally owned and operated, with customer relationships that are in some cases several decades old. We understand that this resolution has many of our customers concerned, as well as digital users around the country. Our pledge to our customers is clear: we have not, and will not take advantage of this roll-back to sell your information to anybody, period.

That rule required cable and phone companies to obtain consent before collecting and sharing information like browsing history, app usage, and geo-location. The most likely use for this information would be to utilize the data for advertising purposes, although the resolution does not put any limits on how the data could potentially be used.

It’s important to note a couple of things. First, the rules adopted last October had not yet gone into effect. Internet Service Providers were preparing for the rules to take effect, but that had not yet happened prior to this vote. Second, companies like Google and Facebook would have had access to your browsing history, even with the new rules.

That being said, the resolution allowing Internet Service Providers access to all of the data will include information beyond browsing history, including app usage and geo-location. So if you are controlling your thermostat through an app, or watching TV through an app, or even playing games through apps, Internet Service Providers will have access to that information and can use it in any way deemed beneficial to the company.

As a small-business rooted in community, it’s much more important to us to have your trust than to have your data. We take our relationships seriously, and our goal is always to provide you with superior service at a reasonable price.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 948.3900.

Sincerely, The Entire UniTel Team