Embarq Admits to Tracking Gardner Net Usage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Embarq Corp. tells Congress that 26,000 of its customers in Gardner, Kansas, were part of a test this year of a program that tracked their Web-surfing habits.

Embarq CEO Thomas Gerke said in a letter late Wednesday that the Overland Park-based company chose Gardner for its test because it was Embarq's smallest market and close to technicians. The Web habits were sought for advertising purposes.

Gerke was building on an earlier response to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell.

Gerke added that Embarq included a notice about potential uses of customer Internet history for advertising on an obscure part of its Web site and 15 people asked not to take part.

Internet providers have attracted the scrutiny of Congress and privacy advocates about technology that develops targeted ads based on what Web sites a particular subscriber visits.

Gerke repeated the company's claims that the test didn't generate or use any information that would personally identify a specific customer.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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