Scared of data-only

If you get your internet service from any provider, wired or wireless, in the US, they’re now not allowed to log your geolocation, financial and health status, your children’s information, social security numbers, usage history and communication content information unless you allow them to.

The Federal Communications Commission implemented new rules regarding the privacy of your information from sensitive materials such as payment methods to more general information like email address or your service package.

The rules state that by entering into a service relationship with your ISP, you automatically consent to sharing non-sensitive materials with the company and it is allowed to use and share that information. You may opt out of that sharing if you desire. The inverse goes for personal information which does not automatically get mined by ISPs — you must opt-in to share that information.

There are some exceptions to the consent requirement such as pulling information needed for the provision of service as well as billing and collection. Other than that, Verizon can’t go telling ad networks about your Amazon interests — something that carrier and AT&T would like in order to generate revenue with their new acquisition strategies.

The rules also mandate that broadband and cellular service providers post clear notices about what data it may collect, that they implement best practices for securing that data and that they alert customers and law enforcement of any breaches of security for the data.

Three commission members voted for the rules while two voted against.

AT&T stated that the measures would “ultimately serve only to confuse consumers” because of the structure of consent rules would not affect websites — AT&T might not use your sensitive data, but Amazon still will. Verizon stated that it is “encouraged” by its initial read of the rules and sees them as help in “maintaining consumer trust.”

Source: FCC, Verizon

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