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Thursday, January 4, 2018

USA: Comcast's US operator injects JavaScript code on pages visited by subscribers for advertising purposes

A customer of the US operator Comcast has taken the forum dedicated to customer support company to alert others to a practice of injecting JavaScript code on the pages visited by its subscribers. This maneuver would aim to present the user a popup window offering various products marketed by the company. It would be a JavaScript code of more than 400 lines that displays a popup window showing a device sold by the company with a customer service phone number. In this case, the complainant states that the popup window displayed on his page presented him with a modem and added that when he contacted the customer service, he tried to persuade him that he had to change the modem. He states that he checked with Level 2 support and that he confirmed that his modem was working properly and did not need to be replaced.

What this customer finds scandalous in this practice is that the operator goes so far as to modify the original code of the web page in order to present a rendering that should not normally be displayed. He adds that this is worse than targeted advertising, because code injection is "direct manipulation of the source code of the website" so that it displays something other than what it should. This is all the more unacceptable for him that the operator would give no option to escape this practice.

On the same support page used by the subscriber cited above to denounce this practice of the operator, the latter defends himself and denies the charges of injecting code for advertising purposes and says that it is rather their "notification system which has been in place for several years already". The operator adds that a click of the user on the icon X of the window would have made it disappear. According to the operator, if the customer had a message suggesting to buy a new modem, it should come from his "modem itself that would inform him that it has reached the end of life or that the subscriber is about to increase its throughput to a level that is not supported by its current modem. "

This revelation about an allegedly dubious operator's practice has been widely commented by US Internet users including subscribers of the operator involved. Such interest is due to the fact that Comcast is the largest US cable operator. The company is a media group with activities in a wide variety of fields such as consumer electronics, television and film, including Comcast Corporation's purchase of NBCUniversal.

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