Skip to main content

Comcast Fires Back Regarding Tor Browser Accusations

On Monday, a report surfaced claiming that Comcast was taking action against subscribers of its Xfinity Internet service who are using the Tor Browser. Several company representatives were quoted, one of which allegedly said that customers who cover their tracks with tools like Tor are likely doing something illegal. Thus, the company is supposedly monitoring its users and contacting those using the browser.

Comcast, however, says that's not true. "Comcast is not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter. We have no policy against Tor, or any other browser or software. Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website, use any app, and so forth," said Comcast VP of Internet Services Jason Livingood in a special blog post.

He said that Xfinity subscriber web surfing, browser usage and online history are not monitored by the company. Even more, Comcast does not terminate customer accounts when they've violated the Copy Alert System, aka the "six-strikes" program, which is a "non-punitive, educational and voluntary copyright program."

"We respect customer privacy and security and only investigate and disclose certain information about a customer's account with a valid court order or other appropriate legal process, just like other ISPs," wrote Livingood, pointing to its Transparency Report.

As reported on Monday, the Tor Browser became highly popular once Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA allegedly spies on Web surfers. Over 2 million people now use the Tor Browser, which connects to the Tor Network and uses random paths to the user's destination in order to prevent government and private agencies from tracking Web usage.

The browser is a great tool for those who want to remain anonymous online. However, it can also be used to surf for illegal material including child pornography and drugs. For this reason, Monday's report seemed to have some merit. However, Comcast insists that there is no "war" declared against the Tor Browser, so Xfinity customers can continue to use the software without fear of being disconnected from the Internet.

"The report may have generated a lot of clicks but is totally inaccurate," added Livingood in his post.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • dovah-chan
    I'm not sure if this is damage control. We all are aware that Comcast and TWC and Charter and AT&T ALL benefit from gathering user information and selling it to advertisers. It is true that Tor can be used to gain access to such illegal materials. I really wouldn't advise highlighting that Tor can be used to access that kind of stuff though. (don't want to give anyone any naughty ideas do we) Although really that's shying away from the whole truth and not dealing with the reality of the situation.

    Anyways I would still try to avoid any major US ISPs if possible if you wish to stay anonymous and your information kept private.
    Reply
  • puddleglum
    So where did this accusation come from? Was it from someone talking a Comcast employee speaking on his own behalf instead of on that of his company. Sounds that way if this doesn't reflect company policy.
    Reply
  • dovah-chan
    14186586 said:
    So where did this accusation come from? Was it from someone talking a Comcast employee speaking on his own behalf instead of on that of his company. Sounds that way if this doesn't reflect company policy.

    Yeah who or what reported this and how did this exactly end up here on tom's if the sources weren't reliable enough? It seems like they're tripping over they're own shoelaces.
    Reply
  • rdc85
    -wrong thread, my browser acting up-
    Reply