The FCC Wants ISPs To Stop Selling Consumer Data

Generally, when you think about the FCC you don’t really think about an organization with your best interests in mind. What’s more, you Family Guy fans probably think about that little song and dance number that pans the FCC for censoring everything good on TV.

That may be true, but it turns out that they’re not as evil as we thought. Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote a Huffington Post blog piece about his new proposal that would require internet service providers to ask your permission before they share your data with third parties.

“Today, I’m proposing to my colleagues that we empower consumers to ensure they have control over how their information is used by their Internet Service Provider.” he wrote. “Every broadband consumer should have the right to know what information is being collected and how it is used. Every broadband consumer should have the right to choose how their information bits should be used and shared. And every consumer should be confident that their information is being securely protected.”

Woah, he’s actually serious.

Wheeler is concerned that ISPs can, and are, collecting such immense amounts of personal data that the consumers are at risk without even knowing it.

“Whenever we go online, we share information about ourselves. This information can be used to recommend a TV show based on what we’ve watched before. It can help target advertisements for products that we’re interested in. And it can also paint a portrait of our family life, our health, our finances, and other sensitive personal details.”

He added, “If you have a mobile device, your provider can track your physical location throughout the day in real time. Even when data is encrypted, your broadband provider can piece together significant amounts of information about you — including private information such as a chronic medical condition or financial problems — based on your online activity.”

His proposition, which will be voted on come March 31, wouldn’t stop ISPs from collecting your information, though. It does, however, give the consumer a bit more strength when it comes to protecting their sensitive information.

Well done, Mr. Wheeler. You’ve talked the talk, but now it’s time to see if the proposition passes so the FCC can walk the walk.


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