Cable companies want to make sure you and your personal data are safe while online. Privacy is a priority for the cable industry because it is the nation’s leading broadband provider. Cable is the nation’s leading broadband provider, with 76 million subscribers, nearly 70% of all high-speed internet subscribers. Cable providers connected more than 5 million U.S. families to the internet in 2020.

More than 90% of Texans have access to high-speed internet.

Customer privacy is one of the primary legislative issues of interest for the Texas Cable Association.

The issue of privacy has come to the forefront on both the state and federal levels as more Americans than ever are on the internet – more than 312 million Americans used the internet in 2019, up from about 121 million in 2000. Overall, 90% of U.S. adults were reported to use the internet at least occasionally, up from 76% in 2010.

On the state level, the Texas Cable Association monitors bills filed by the Texas Legislature that are related to privacy issues. In 2019, one passed, which related to the privacy of a consumer’s personal identifying information collected by certain businesses: HB 4390 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake).

Cable companies already are subject to strict federal regulations on what they can do with your data. In fact, the data collected by multichannel video programming distributors, including cable, has been called “among the most well-protected data sets in American business.”

Personal information collected by cable companies is subject to privacy regulations and oversight under the Cable Act, which includes prohibitions on disclosure without prior consent from the customer. In addition, internet service providers – including cable companies – each have a privacy policy that offers consumers choice as to how their data is used. 

Members of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association (an industry trade group to which the Texas Cable Association and individual cable companies belong) and nearly every U.S. internet service provider support a technology neutral federal data privacy law that protects consumers while promoting responsible data uses. They have reiterated their commitment to privacy principles that include transparency, consumer choice, data security and data breach notifications.

These principles are based on the FTC’s successful privacy regime, which for over 20 years applied to all internet companies and still applies to the world’s largest data collectors.

Learn more about the cable industry’s commitment to customer privacy, as outlined by NCTA.

ISP Security:

Consumers can take steps to protect themselves while online. The Federal Trade Commission offers an extensive list, including these simple suggestions:

  • On your internet browser, delete cookies or limit the kinds of cookies that can be placed on your computer.
  • Turn on the “private browsing” setting on your internet browser to keep your web activities hidden from other people who use the same computer.
  • Limit tracking in or across mobile apps by controlling identifiers that allow ad targeting or collect your location information.
  • Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield the information on your mobile devices when on a public network.
  • Avoid oversharing of personal information in posts you make on your social networks.

Cable also proudly partners with the National Cyber Security Alliance. Among its suggestions: 

  • Create strong passwords, and unique passwords for each account.
  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. 
  • Don’t click on links in suspicious emails or solicitations. Links in emails, posts and texts are often used by cybercriminals to try to steal your information or infect your devices.
  • Before sending or entering sensitive information online, check the security of the website.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections.

Keeping Kids Safe:

https://www.multichannel.com/news/comcast-adds-more-parent-tools-to-xfi

Cable providers are committed to helping parents learn how to manage their children’s online use and teach their kids how to safely navigate the internet. 

The cable industry offers tools and resources for parents to control internet usage as well as guidance on how to teach kids to use certain sites in moderation.

Controlwithcable.org is a collaborative industry effort that details how the cable industry keeps kids informed and healthy online through measures that enforce limits to online use and the type of media and sites that kids interact with.

The tools provided by cable are built around three basic concepts: choice, control and education. 

Parents are better able to make responsible decisions by using the tools and information provided by cable companies and the industry.

Resources:

Control It With Cable

Connect Safely

Family Online Safety Institute

Parental Controls

Busy families might think it’s overwhelming to monitor and control what their children view on television, mobile devices or online, especially given the ever-growing amount of content and programming available. 

Cable puts families firmly in the driver’s seat to determine what’s appropriate for their household to view, and then easily control access to that content.

Cable set-top boxes and the V-Chip – combined with the TV Parental Guidelines Ratings System – can be used to block content families deem inappropriate. 

  • The V-Chip, a device built into most TVs since 2000, electronically reads television program ratings and allows parents to block programs they believe are unsuitable for their children. 
  • Cable set-top boxes also have settings to block programs based on their TV Parental Guidelines rating.

More information, tools and information: https://www.controlwithcable.org