Privacy Matters

This week Congress overturned internet privacy rules that would have applied to carriers like Sonic, and this presents a good opportunity for us to reiterate our position on privacy.

Sonic has long supported privacy efforts which would protect the rights of our members, and has engaged in ongoing advocacy on this issue for many years. We disagree with industry members who have lobbied for the ability to monitor internet usage by consumers. The health of the internet ecosystem critically depends upon confidence by creators and consumers that their usage will not be monitored or sold.

As we have said before, we believe many of the issues related to carrier practices and policies are fundamentally a competitive market failure. This includes net neutrality and privacy, but also product design and pricing, usage caps, customer service and more. If consumers could choose from fifteen different internet service providers, the competitive market would reward the best policies, prices, reliability and practices.

Sonic and a few other competitive internet service providers aside, the US does not have an adequately competitive market. And until that is achieved, regulation of some carrier policies and practices is important.

The pending repeal of the broadband privacy rules provides an opportunity for Sonic to clarify our policies, and to call out some specific policy points:

  • Sonic never sells our member information or usage data, nor do we voluntarily provide government or law enforcement with access to any data about users for surveillance purposes.
  • Sonic minimizes data retention, keeping data from 0 – 14 days for dynamic IP addresses and other logs and commits to EFF’s privacy-friendly Do Not Track policy. We believe that user data should not be retained longer than necessary, and that users deserve to have a clear understanding of personal data held by service providers.
  • Sonic is also against the re-authorization of Section 702 (the law behind the PRISM and Upstream programs). Governments and other entities should not collect huge quantities of phone, email or other internet usage data directly from the physical infrastructure of any communications provider.

We have also updated further our policy document, adding new language regarding notification of customers when legal process is served under seal.

  • wesley

    Thank you! Reassuring to know my ISP won’t be selling my data 🙂

  • Karen Lee Montgomery

    Thank you so much for your privacy policies. Grateful for sanity in these dark days.

  • fogfollower

    Thanks Sonic! Just another reason why I’m happy I made the switch from Comcast.

  • Charlie Toledo

    thank you glad all my phones on sonic glad to read this!!

  • Mary Williams

    Can you clarify whether those of us with Fusion FTTN service using AT&T line are at risk of AT&T accessing and potentially selling any part of our data? Or is the Sonic as the ISP in complete control of privacy regardless of company providing transmission lines?

  • Dane Jasper

    Sonic’s bulk commercial arrangement with ATT for the Fusion FTTN product is not subject to the same terms as their consumer product. This includes privacy, but also usage caps, for example.

    And as an additional measure, Sonic customers also have free access to our VPN feature, so if you’d prefer to use Sonic’s native IP transit, you can set up VPN. This is useful BTW also when you’re anywhere you are concerned about privacy or monitoring, for example hotel or cafe WiFi!

  • Arthur

    How do use Sonic’s VPN? I have Sonic Bonded Fusion in Palo Alto. But since it’s slower than Comcast Cable Internet, I primarily use that with Sonic’s ADSL as backup. I’d love to use Sonic VPN to tunnel through Comcast and while on the road. And I’d love to have Sonic Fiber in Palo Alto and ditch Comcast altogether.

  • diego federici

    Thanks!

  • Jonas Cabrera

    thanks! in a few months my contract is ending i might be checking you guys out!

  • Woodsy

    Dane: Hi and thanks for a great service. Like Mary, I was worried AT&T would monitor and use my traffic so I started regularly connecting with OpenVPN a couple of months ago — my speed went up! It’s 5Mbps without VPN and 11Mbps with. Why? Is AT&T throttling my traffic for some reason? Keep up the good work. We’ve been with you folks for 15 years now.

  • Dane Jasper

    Speed tests can be misleading. In this case, I’d suspect the VPN is providing compression, and that the speed test source isn’t using un-compressible data. This leads to an inaccurate result.

    You could try other speed tests in hopes of getting an accurate result, or use FTP to download our large un-compressible data files from the /pub directory of http://ftp.sonic.net.

  • Woodsy

    Yep, compression was the difference. Good news, though, is I’m not taking much of a speed hit with VPN on. Thanks!

  • Patrick McGowan

    Hey Dane, when can we get fibre in Pacific Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, etc? You already provide it in the Richmond and Sunset districts. Come on, give us the chance to dump Comcast!

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  • Hi Dave,

  • I became a new Customer as of this past Sunday. Would it be possible to get a E-Mail address for you so I can discuss Sonic issues with you?

    Thanks,

    Larry