FCC Proposes Stricter Privacy Regulations for Internet Service Providers

A new privacy proposal unveiled Thursday will require broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast to get users’ permission before sharing with advertisers what users have been doing on their phone or computer.

has changed its broadband-privacy plan since it was initially proposed in March. The wireless and cable industries had complained that under the initial plan, they would be more heavily regulated than digital-ad behemoths like Google and Facebook, who are monitored by a different agency, the Federal Trade Commission.

The FCC explained its new approach Thursday and plans to vote on it Oct. 27. The revised proposal says broadband providers don’t have to get permission from customers ahead of time to use some information deemed “non-sensitive,” like names and addresses. The previous plan called for customers to expressly approve the use of more of their information.

According to the revised proposal, customers still need to approve broadband providers’ using and sharing a slew of their data, like a phone’s physical location, websites browsed and apps used, and what’s in emails.

“Every broadband consumer should have the right to choose how their information bits should be used and shared,” Chairman Tom Wheeler Wheeler, one of the FCC commissioners, said in an op-ed published on Huffington Post.

Reina Ho

Reina Ho is a freelance reporter who focuses on censorship and information control in online space.

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