In plenty of countries, Tor browser is used as a way to get past censorship and surveillance networks, even in the United States thousands of people use the network to escape the NSA tracking.
The problem is mixed in with these people trying to browse the Internet anonymously are criminals: hackers, drug dealers and deep web users, all using Tor’s connected user networks, making it hard for users to be found and punished for any wrongdoing.
One Comcast employee, named Kelly, apparently claimed:
“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.”
DeepDotWeb reported this information, and it was backed with user comments, claiming Comcast representatives badgered them about using the Tor browser and told them they would disconnect users caught using the browser.
This is not true, according to Jason Livingood, Vice President of Internet Services and Technology at Comcast. He claims the ISP does not monitor any user traffic, nor does it have any problems with Tor browser users, with Livingood claiming he uses the browser himself.
We are normally not inclined to believe Comcast, but when they make solid claims and back it up with policies, it is hard to argue. This is especially true since we have not seen one instance of a disconnection for using Tor browser.
Perhaps someone internally Comcast are looking at the harmful effects of the Tor browser, or perhaps Kelly, who does not exist according to Comcast, was just misguided when asked.
Whatever the case – it is good to see Comcast openly come out and defend free Internet use, even if they are still trying to make customer’s life less enjoyable on the Internet in other areas.