ISPs promise not to sell data after FCC privacy rules repealed

President Trump on Monday signed a resolution that scuttles a set of privacy rules adopted by the FCC a year ago, including requirements that internet providers obtain consumers' consent before sharing or selling their browsing information and other data. But consumers reacted with concern that ISPs could sell personal data if they ever chose to.

On Friday, major ISPs Verizon, AT&T and Comcast pledged not to sell such data and said consumers would have "opt out" options from any such data sales if they were offered. "We did not do it before the FCC's rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so", stated Gerard Lewis, chief privacy officer, Comcast.

"The FCC's privacy rules are a common-sense step toward giving consumers control over how their data is used and sold".

It's likely possible to buy the web marketing profile of individual politicians from a marketing cloud provider, if not an ISP, including the kinds of websites they like to visit, by targeting them using their general location and other publicly available information, he said. This doesn't have to involve the sale of browsing data: ISPs who operate their own advertising networks (such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon) would be able to sell targeted ads without sharing their customers' browsing with third parties.

The repeal means the cable company, or whoever provides your internet connection, can lawfully track your online activities and sell that information - valuable to advertisers and many others - to companies without letting you know.

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing privacy regulations first mandated under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while it was under the chairmanship of Democrat Tom Wheeler previous year, according to multiple reports and an industry source. Trump's action follows the Senate and House voting to eliminate the rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission during Barack Obama's presidency. The rules proposed by the FCC under the Obama Administration would have only taken effect in December 2017.

"Our industry remains committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of the personal information of our customers".

After his press secretary blasted it as an example of rampant government overreach, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Monday that could eventually allow internet providers to sell information about their customers' browsing habits. [We] will not sell your personal information to anyone, for any goal.

Republicans repeatedly discounted the privacy benefits generated by the rule. This week, 46 Senate Democrats urged Trump not to sign the bill, arguing most Americans "believe that their private information should be just that".

  • Carolyn Briggs