Proposed Rules by FCC Would Limit Data Use by Internet Providers

The U.S. government has proposed new rules for privacy that would make service providers of Internet like phone and cable companies ask users’ permission in certain instances prior to using as well as sharing their data.

Using information of customers could help the ISPs make additional money from digital, targeted advertising, when the advertisers are not able to show ads that they believe will appeal to the user’s specific interests.

Federal Communications Commission new proposed rules will likely face much criticism and probable lawsuits from the ISPs.

The new rules only affect companies that connect the user to Internet such as Sprint, Verizon and Comcast. They do not affect Internet companies with huge advertising companies based upon customer data such as Google or Facebook.

In those cases, the businesses fall under the regulation of the Federal Trade Commission.

FCC officials said their new rules would not prohibit any targeted advertising for the ISPs. However, the goal is that in many, if not the vast majority of cases, the Internet provider would need your permission prior to sharing personal data with the advertiser.

The federal agency said you would need to only opt out, which is a less stringent type of requirement, if you are a customer for example of Verizon Fios, and Verizon wanted to market its services to you, but Verizon also owns a large business carrying digital ad in AOL. If AOL wants to be able to share data it collected from you and from AOL, it would need your permission

The efforts by the FCC have been applauded by privacy watchdogs.

Analysts have said that the new rules showed that the FCC was denouncing in a loud way certain business and privacy practices that sound like they are bad, despite there being any real evidence that they do not offer consumer benefits and should be weighed next to possibly being harmful.

The FCC has also laid out rules on how the ISPs must protect personal data from any breaches and how quickly they must tell someone about a data breach.

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