The core function of internet service providers (ISPs) is to provide internet access to consumers in return for data fees.
However, imagine paying for a service that only shows you ads by the service provider, without asking your permission as the person who paid for the said service. This is exactly what Zong is doing.
If you are one of the Chinese telcos’ internet subscribers you might have seen random Zong Ads while browsing the internet.
Users have complained of being bombarded with Zong promotional pop-ups while in the middle of writing urgent and important emails, urging them to take up this or that irrelevant offer and slowing down their browsing.
But this is more than an inconvenience; it is also a huge breach of your online privacy and security.
How does it work?
When you open a website, a very simple process happens in the background.For example, you enter “google.com” in your browser’s address bar, as soon as you press enter, the following happens:
- Your browser sends a request to the servers of your ISP for that web page.
- Your ISP’s servers will then send that request to the internet servers to load that site to your browser.
- The relevant server on the internet will then send a response to your ISP’s server, essentially saying, “here is the web page you asked for.”
Your ISP is supposed to send that response directly to your browser, unchanged. However, Zong is actually changing that response in the middle without your permission to insert promotional material and ads into your internet browsing experience.
This is not only unethical; it may also be an illegal breach of your online privacy and security.