RCN understands how important personal privacy is to you and we are committed to fully protect your rights. We want our customers to be aware of what information RCN collects and how it is handled. This statement discloses RCN’s privacy practices, including an explanation of which personal information about RCN’s customers is collected, how the information is used, with whom the information may be shared, how the customer can correct any inaccuracies in the information, and your rights and our responsibilities under applicable privacy laws.
As set forth more fully below, RCN may collect and use Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI, as defined herein, to the extent permitted by applicable law:
RCN does not request personal information from children; therefore, we ask parents or guardians to oversee their children’s use of RCN’s services, and not to provide any personal information pertaining to children.
To provide reliable, quality services RCN must gather and collect certain information, both personally identifiable and aggregated, regarding its customers and potential customers.
A. Personally Identifiable Information and Customer Proprietary Network Information
Some of the information that RCN collects is “personally identifiable,” meaning the information relates to a specific, identifiable individual. Personally Identifiable Information includes, but is not limited to:
A specific type of Personally Identifiable Information that RCN may collect and use if you are a telephone customer is Customer Proprietary Network Information (“CPNI”), which is telephone account information collected in connection with the telephone services you purchase from RCN. CPNI may include:
Unless you have requested an unlisted or unpublished number, CPNI does not include “subscriber list information,” that is, your name, address, and telephone number included in directories. As indicated above, however, such information is considered Personally Identifiable Information.
B. Non-Personally Identifiable Information/Aggregated Data
RCN also collects and uses Non-Personally Identifiable Information, including Aggregated Data, which does not identify individual customers. Non-Personally Identifiable Information can include log files, URLs, IP addresses, information collected via “Cookies,” and MAC addresses or other equipment identifiers when not associated with individuals’ names or account information. Aggregated Data is data associated with categories of service or customers that does not contain specific details about the identity of the person to whom it relates.
As explained below, in rendering its services, RCN may collect Personally Identifiable Information and CPNI during the course of:
A. Marketing and Sales/Initiating Service/Customer Service
RCN is actively engaged in face-to-face sales, direct marketing, telemarketing, and marketing and sales via the Internet (eCommerce). Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI, is collected in the course of checking customers’ credit and eligibility for service, initiating and provisioning service, maintaining service, billing for service, providing customer service, marketing new and additional services to customers, and customer retention efforts. RCN may monitor and/or record telephone calls placed to an RCN customer service and support center for quality assurance and training purposes. Third party verification services, which are independent from RCN, often record follow-up calls to verify sales made by RCN telemarketers. RCN also keeps records relating to contacts with RCN customer service and support representatives, customer complaints, complaints about customer behavior, and reports of violations of our policies or agreements associated with your account. RCN keeps track of service tickets that are opened in response to reports of service disruption, and RCN customer service representatives may make notes in your account whenever you place a service call.
B. RCN Web Sites
RCN operates web sites. Some of these web sites provide information relating to RCN and its services, and some provide eCommerce capabilities, allowing a customer or potential customer to request information about or to subscribe to RCN services via the Internet. When you interact with RCN’s web sites and, in particular, our eCommerce functionality, Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI, may be collected about you. Specifically, Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI, that you enter into forms on our web sites may be captured and stored in RCN’s records. RCN also may record the nature, type, and content of access to its web sites and other network resources (e.g., webmail), and store this information on secure servers.
The RCN web sites also contain links to web sites that are not operated by RCN, which may or may not have similar practices in place to protect the privacy of information that you supply. RCN encourages everyone to review the privacy statements of each of the sites that are linked to or accessed from RCN’s web sites, so that you will understand how each visited site collects, uses, and distributes information. (See V. Links to Other Web Sites).
Cookies: “Cookies” are small text files that are utilized to enable a continuous connection to web sites, making it more convenient to visit pages within a web site without the need to download the web site each time. Cookies are meant to assist the user to visit a web site in a seamless fashion. Cookies are particularly useful in facilitating web transactions that span multiple pages, e.g., making travel arrangements, online banking, and Internet shopping.
Some of the RCN web sites allow customers to perform self-care on their accounts or to engage in eCommerce. When the customer successfully logs into the RCN web server, it will place a Cookie containing an identifier on the customer’s hard disk. As the customer transmits each subsequent page of information to the server, the server will ask the individual’s computer for the Cookie to confirm the individual’s identity without requiring the individual to login each time. The Cookie will not run any programs or cause malfunction of a computer. The Cookie will only be read by RCN’s web server and used to expedite customer login to the RCN web site.
Cookies may also be placed on your hard disk by web sites that are not operated by RCN. RCN is not responsible for Cookies placed or provided by non-RCN websites. (See V. Links to Other Web Sites).
The “help” portion on the toolbar of most browsers will tell you how to prevent your browser from accepting new Cookies, how to have the browser notify you when you are to receive a new Cookie, or how to disable Cookies altogether. However, as Cookies allow your user experience to be enhanced, and expedite login in RCN’s web sites, we recommend that you leave them turned on.
C. Business Records
RCN keeps business records that contain Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI. Our records include information about the account holder and other authorized users on the account; account history, including information related to credit, billing, payment, damage and security deposits, initiation and provisioning of service, changes in service, maintenance and repairs, complaints, and contacts with customer service; the services and service options you have chosen, including call detail information, if you are a telephone customer, the video services you order, if you are a cable customer, and information regarding your Internet usage, if you are a high-speed Internet service customer; and the equipment you have connected to the RCN network or that is capable of connecting to the RCN network. RCN also keeps records relating to complaints about customer behavior, and reports of violations of our policies or agreements. We also keep records of research concerning subscriber satisfaction, viewing habits, and network usage, which are obtained from subscriber interviews, questionnaires, and passive monitoring of the RCN network. Additionally, if you rent your home, we may have a record of whether landlord permission was required prior to installing our wiring and equipment, as well as your landlord’s name and address.
D. Network Operation
RCN’s cable television headend equipment collects data relating to signal quality and programming selections, including pay-per-view and video on demand selections, for billing purposes. RCN may electronically test the video delivery system from time-to-time to determine whether customers are being properly billed for the cable service they receive. Digital cable television service is delivered with an Interactive Programming Guide operated by and licensed from Aptiv Digital, Inc. (“Aptiv”). Aptiv provides RCN the capability to collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information and Aggregated Data about viewing patterns through the use of its Interactive Programming Guide. Without appropriate written or electronic consent from you, pursuant to Section 631 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended [47 U.S.C. 551] (the “Communications Act”), we cannot collect Personally Identifiable Information over the cable system unless it is necessary to provide a cable or other service you have requested or to determine if you are being properly billed for the services you are receiving.
RCN’s telephone switch equipment automatically collects data (call records) relating to the originating and terminating telephone numbers involved in each telephone call carried over the RCN network, the date, time, and duration of the call, and the applicable billing rate, among other types of information that allow RCN to work with other telephone and wireless networks to route a call and to permit billing of the call.
RCN’s servers, and servers connected to the RCN network by authorized third parties for data collection purposes, also collect certain information. As is common practice in our industry, RCN may use web caching software on its network to ensure optimum performance for our customers. Such software by its nature captures Internet Protocol and URL information to a log file. The RCN network also automatically logs certain information, such as application usage and type. Such logs generally are maintained on RCN’s secured servers and/or the secured servers of authorized third parties as long as is necessary to fulfill a legitimate business or law enforcement need. Typically, information collected by servers connected to the RCN network is maintained as Non-Personally Identifiable Information and/or Aggregated Data. However, this information may become Personally Identifiable Information if and when RCN associates the information with a particular customer’s account for marketing, customer retention, or network security and reliability purposes. This data may also be used to protect the security of RCN’s network, to prevent network intrusions from viruses and worms, and for advertising purposes. Specifically, RCN and certain third parties authorized by RCN have the ability to monitor all network traffic destined to and from any connected device attached to RCN’s network. However, authorized third parties, which may collect this information for marketing, customer retention, product development, or advertising purposes, do not receive any Personally Identifiable Information from RCN regarding RCN’s customers, but rather collect the data on an anonymous and/or aggregated basis. In most cases, network traffic monitoring is restricted to viewing source/destination addresses, and the content of the transaction is not viewed. However, the information collected may include URLs of web sites you have visited and the content of any unencrypted e-mail or other communications sent by or to you. Such data, when stored, is protected by industry-standard security practices. RCN technical support also may remotely query your cable modem and, if you request during a contact with our customer service department, your computer, for information to remotely troubleshoot and to assist in diagnosing a problem that might affect the computer attached via cable modem to the RCN network.
Customer On-Line Communications: RCN does not actively monitor the content of any on-line communication (electronic mail (e-mail), chat conversations, instant messages, or web postings), but may use an automated system to randomly audit such transmittals to protect RCN’s network from viruses, worms, and excessive spam. RCN takes the privacy and security of its customer’s on-line communications very seriously. RCN will view the content of online communications only when it is necessary to protect the security of RCN’s network or ensure system reliability. For example, if our automated system detects unusual levels of activity to or from your computer, RCN personnel may view the content of those transmissions to determine if the network traffic is the result of a virus, worm, excessive spam, or violation of our Internet Access Agreement.
You should be aware that, should you disclose any personally identifiable or sensitive information while engaged in on-line communications, there is the risk of having the person(s) to whom or sites to which the information is addressed collect and use it. One should also be mindful that people might be logged into a public chat room without your knowledge. RCN assumes no responsibility for or control over any such third persons. Information posted in chat rooms and newsgroups that RCN operates are deleted on average every third day to clear posted messages. E-mail is deleted from RCN’s server once it is downloaded to a customer’s computer.
At RCN, the privacy and security of your account is very important to us. That is why we have taken measures to protect the privacy of your Personally Identifiable Information and CPNI in compliance with the federal laws and FCC regulations that govern use and disclosure of customer information. The uses to which your information may be put are discussed below, together with the security measures RCN has implemented for all customer accounts.
A. Account Passwords/Customer Authentication
To better protect all of your account information and allow us to provide you the best quality customer service, you must establish a password and two backup security questions for your account when you establish service. If your account does not have a password and backup security questions, you will be asked to provide them. The password and backup security questions may not be based on readily available biographical information or account information. Readily available biographical information is information drawn from the customer’s life history and may include, for example, social security number, or the last four digits of that number, mother’s maiden name, home address or date of birth. Account information includes things such as the customer’s account number, telephone number associated with the account, or the bill’s amount. Federal law also requires RCN to utilize a password authentication method when communicating with customers on-line or by telephone regarding their telephone accounts where the customer seeks call detail or other account information. Under certain circumstances, RCN may have separate contractual arrangements with its business customers governing authentication methods and protection of the business customer’s telephone account information.
B. Cable Television Customer Privacy
As a subscriber to cable television service, you are entitled under Section 631 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended [47 U.S.C. 551] (the “Communications Act”), to know the limitations imposed upon cable operators in the collection and disclosure of personally identifiable subscriber information, the types of Personally Identifiable Information collected, how subscriber information is used, under what conditions it is disclosed, the period during which it is maintained, and the right of subscribers concerning such information and its disclosure. RCN may use Personally Identifiable Information to help make sure you are being properly billed for the services you receive, to send you pertinent information regarding your cable services, to improve the quality of the services we provide, and for tax, legal, and accounting purposes. Specifically, the information in our cable records is used to sell, install, maintain, and disconnect cable services, as well as improve marketing and program decisions, to mail related materials, to ensure compliance with relevant law and contractual provisions, and to answer questions from subscribers. The types of persons to whom information about you as a cable customer may be disclosed in the course of our business include the employees of RCN and RCN’s related legal entities, agents, legal counsel, repair and installation subcontractors, sales representatives, accountants, billing and collection services, program guide distributors, mail houses, program suppliers, consumer and market research firms, franchising authorities, and authorized representatives. Personally Identifiable Information is disclosed to persons with an equity interest in legal entities related to RCN when they have a legal right to inspect our books and records. Information for billing purposes and program guide mailings is generally provided on a monthly basis. Information for other purposes is provided as it is needed.
We will maintain information about you as a cable subscriber as long as it is necessary for our business purposes. This period of time lasts as long as you are a subscriber and up to 15 additional years so that we can comply with tax and accounting requirements.
Unless you object or unless state or local law provides to the contrary, the Communications Act allows us to disclose information to others, including advertisers and direct mail or telemarketers for non-cable related purposes, including product advertising, direct marketing and research. Disclosure for such purposes is limited to your name, address and the particular services to which you subscribe, but cannot include the extent of your viewing or use of a particular service or the nature of any transaction you may make over the cable system. We may provide names and addresses of cable subscribers to third parties. If you wish to have us remove your name from such lists, please write us at RCN, 196 Van Buren Street, Herndon, VA 20170 or telephone 1.800.RING.RCN. We will then not make your name and address available for such non-cable purposes.
Aptiv provides RCN the capability to collect Non-Personally Identifiable Information and Aggregated Data about viewing patterns on RCN’s digital cable television service through the use of its Interactive Programming Guide. This information is used by RCN to measure subscriber use and satisfaction and improve services and marketing.
Other than information provided to governmental taxing or regulatory authorities in furtherance of our legitimate business activities, RCN shall not make Personally Identifiable Information regarding its cable customers available to government authorities in the absence of an appropriate court order entered after a court proceeding. At such a court proceeding, Federal law requires the governmental entity to offer clear and convincing evidence that the subject of the information is reasonably suspected of engaging in criminal activity and that the information sought would be material evidence in the case. The subject of the information must be afforded the opportunity to appear and contest the governmental entity’s claims. In addition, pursuant to an administrative subpoena, state welfare agencies may obtain the names and addresses of individuals as they appear in the customer records of cable television companies with respect to those who owe, or are owed, welfare support. Such information may be obtained without a court order and does not require that a subscriber be given notice of and the opportunity to contest the disclosure.
You have a right to inspect our records that contain information about you as a cable customer and correct any errors in such information. If you wish to inspect our records, please contact your local RCN business office. Please notify us in writing 30 days in advance and an appointment will be arranged promptly during our regular business hours. Additionally, as a cable subscriber, the Communications Act provides you with a cause of action for damages, attorney’s fees and costs in Federal District Court should you believe that any of the limitations on the collection, disclosure, and retention of Personally Identifiable Information have been violated by us.
C. Telephone Customer Privacy
The Communications Act also gives you a right to confidentiality of your CPNI, and requires us to protect the privacy of that information. RCN, or its agents and affiliates, may use, disclose or permit access to your CPNI without notifying you, to provide, install, and repair the services you have ordered, for billing and collection, for emergency services, and for protection of our network and our subscribers against fraud, abuse, and unlawful use. RCN also may be compelled to disclose CPNI or other Personally Identifiable Information in compliance with government taxing or regulatory authorities or pursuant to law enforcement directives or court order.
Except as otherwise indicated herein, and as required under applicable law, RCN will provide you with prior written, electronic, or oral notice and obtain your affirmative consent before sharing your CPNI with joint venture partners and independent contractors for marketing purposes.
You may receive marketing information from RCN even if you restrict RCN’s use of your CPNI. These materials are developed without use of CPNI.
In the event that there is an unauthorized disclosure of your CPNI, RCN is required to notify law enforcement of the breach of your CPNI. Under federal law, RCN is required to wait at least seven (7) business days after notifying law enforcement officials before it can notify you of such a breach. Relevant investigating agencies may direct RCN to wait even longer prior to providing you with notice of the breach of CPNI.
Unless you have requested an unlisted or unpublished number, RCN may release your name, address, and telephone number for listing in directories or for directory assistance services, including to unaffiliated third parties.
D. High Speed Internet Access Service Customer Privacy
RCN is committed to protection of any Personally Identifiable Information, including CPNI, captured or stored on its network. RCN secures such information from unauthorized access, use, and disclosure using industry-standard methods such as firewalls, encryption, and system access controls. Our network security practices are regularly reviewed against industry best practices by internal staff and independent third parties. However, as no computer or network-based product exists that can provide “perfect security”, RCN cannot guarantee your information is completely risk-free. Furthermore, you should be aware that any information you include in a message you post to a chat room, newsgroup, or other public posting area generally is available to anyone with Internet access. (See II.D. Customer On-Line Communications).
Non-Personally Identifiable Information and Aggregated Data collected via RCN’s network, as described in Section II.D above, is used by RCN and third parties:
RCN may use Personally Identifiable Information or CPNI, collected via RCN’s network, as described in Section II.D above:
Information logged by the RCN network also is used by RCN to determine compliance with the RCN Internet Access Agreement, Acceptable Use Policy, and other applicable RCN policies and agreements. RCN may use information logged by the RCN network as necessary:
RCN also may disclose to third parties information logged by the RCN network and/or the contents of private communication over the Internet if RCN, in its sole discretion, reasonably believes that such action is necessary:
In addition, RCN reserves the right to disclose the identity of a subscriber, whether or not in conjunction with other information, to third parties as required to comply with applicable law, or valid legal process, or law enforcement request.
All bills are mailed at regular intervals to the billing address indicated in RCN’s records to the attention of the account holder only. In order to perform the billing function, answer questions relating to billing, and collect on overdue accounts, RCN customer service representatives, credit, and collections representatives and billing personnel have access to the billing systems, which contain Personally Identifiable Information and CPNI.
F. Use of Information in Connection with Sale or Liquidation of RCN
RCN reserves the right to provide customer lists and related information in connection with any contemplated sale of the company or of all or part of the business assets used to provide any RCN service to which the customers on a list subscribe, and to treat RCN customer information as a business asset in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation.
G. Data Retention
Except as otherwise required by law or specifically described herein, RCN maintains its customers’ Personally Identifiable Information for the life of the customer’s account, plus an additional seven (7) years. Aggregated Data is retained by RCN for a period of up to seven (7) years.