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Cujo AI takes aim at online consumer privacy protection

New 'Incognito' service enables broadband customers to control their private data by automatically blocking tracking software that builds profiles based on their use of the Internet.

Jeff Baumgartner

February 25, 2020

4 Min Read
Cujo AI takes aim at online consumer privacy protection

Extending its reach beyond home network and IoT device security, Cujo AI has broadened its artificial intelligence- and machine learning-powered platform with Incognito, an offering that provides privacy and tracking protection for service providers and their broadband customers.

Cujo AI, a company with connections to major service providers such as Comcast and Charter Communications, said the new offering enables broadband users to seize control of their private data by automatically blocking tracking software that profiles them as they navigate the Internet.

Cujo AI said it does this by analyzing real-time traffic, including website requests, cookies and other types of third-party trackers as well as user-tracking online ads. It then uses that data to evaluate and locate privacy threats in the data flow, and then block malware and other malicious data privacy threats. Cujo AI's Incognito system also has the ability to whitelist traffic and allow tracker category IDs that are essential or can enhance the user experience (such as performance analytics that provide feedback to website owners and cookies that remember passwords).

"We are seeing a lot of customer concern about third-party tracking software," which has led to the increased use of online ad-blockers, said Rob Hull, VP of commercial management at Cujo AI.

More elegant than an ad-blocker
But rather than relying on somewhat crude ad-blockers, Incognito puts more control in the hands of the consumer while also preventing sensitive personal information from being shuttled upstream from a laptop or a mobile device. In addition to keeping customer data private and clamping down on unwanted ads and online usage trackers, Incognito can also speed up website loading by up to 50%, the company claims.

Alongside whitelisting and allowances for non-threats, Incognito will also block third-party trackers that are invasive, creepy or simply annoying, including ad targeting systems that serve up ads based on the user's Internet usage and other instances in which that data is used to create a "super profile" of an individual.

"Customers get a bit peeved with that," Hull said, noting that many consumers don't want third parties peeking over their shoulders to see what they are doing online and which sites they are visiting.

Small software agents
For the home broadband use case, Cujo AI enables this via a small software agent installed in the gateway. Cujo AI is also building a mobile software developers kit (SDK) that could, for example, enable a partner to embed Cujo AI's privacy and tracking mechanism on their own mobile apps. Think of it as a "microservice" running on a third-party app on a mobile device, Hull explained.

Hull said Cujo AI is launching Incognito as service providers take it upon themselves to help ensure that customer data is kept private.

"They are finding that privacy is something that resonates with customers more so than security," he said. "Privacy is something they worry about far more."

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Hull said one "major" US customer is trialing Incognito today as the vendor continues to build out and fine-tune the platform's whitelisting capabilities.

Cujo AI offers Incognito under a software-as-a-service model to service providers. But the company is also active in cutting deals with device manufacturers that result in the pre-installation of Cujo AI's various security, privacy and network analytics services.

Last fall, for example, Technicolor announced it was pre-integrating the Cujo AI's "Lens" network analytics product on customer premises equipment running RDK-B and Homeware, Technicolor's middleware based on OpenWRT. Two other device makers – Sagemcom and AirTies – were referenced when Cujo AI announced Lens in October 2019.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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