In response to a request from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, AT&T asserted that targeted advertising practices used by Google threaten privacy as advertising network operators that include the search engine giant “have evolved beyond merely tracking consumer web surfing activity on sites for which they have a direct ad-serving relationship.” AT&T is one of several broadband Internet service providers (ISPs), including Verizon Communications and Comcast, to answer the committee’s inquiry on the use of online user-tracking technologies and behavioral targeting practices. Writing to committee chairman John Dingell (D-MI), ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX), telecom subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) and ranking subcommittee minority member Cliff Stearns (R-FL), AT&T denied that it engages in “the tracking of a consumer’s overall web search and web browsing activities-by tracking either the person or a particular computer—to create a distinct profile of the consumer’s online behavior.” Claiming, however, that the committee has erroneously focused its inquiry upon ISPs, AT&T pointed out that Google has “the ability to observe a user’s entire web browsing experience at a granular level, including all URLs visited, all searches, and actual page views.” According to AT&T, tracking techniques used by Google include (1) the dropping of third-party “cookies” on consumer PCs for the purpose of capturing “visits to any one of thousands of unrelated websites”, (2) the placement of embedded software on web user PCs, and (3) automatically downloading applications on user PCs that, “unbeknownst to the consumer, log the consumer’s full session of browsing activity.” Noting that these techniques provide Google with “access to enormous amounts of personal information,” AT&T told the committee members that Google’s practices “raise even greater privacy concerns” than deep-packet inspection techniques that ISPs use primarily to manage network congestion and to fight illegal online activities such as child pornography.