EDITORIAL | Whidbey cable, internet providers made the right call protecting customer privacy

Whidbey Telecom leaders this week confirmed that the company will not sell its customers’ Internet history to the highest bidder despite the recent green light by Congress and President Donald Trump to do so.

Way to go Whidbey Telecom. Vowing not to hawk private information just to make a buck shows class and respect to those who keep you in business. The same goes for Comcast; the cable and internet provider made a similar promise in an earlier statement, vowing to keep customer browsing history private and out of the hands of profiteers.

In today’s digital world, Internet privacy is a hotly debated topic. It recently made headlines when President Donald Trump signed a bill rescinding Federal Communications Commission rules put into place last year under the Obama administration. Those rules required broadband companies to get permission from customers before selling what is classified as “sensitive” data. That includes everything from browsing history and geolocation to financial and medical information.

The data is typically used to create advertisements targeted at consumers. While the issue is complicated, and the new rules created an unfair playing field for other parts of the online industry (see our front page story), two wrongs don’t make a right.

It’s encouraging to see that Whidbey Telecom and Comcast, two vastly different companies — one a longtime South Whidbey business owned and led by local residents and the other a Goliath that’s steadily taking over the cable world — agree that some things just aren’t not for sale.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.