FCC Adopts New Privacy Rule, Limits What ISPs Can Do With Your Data

by Kate Cox, The Consumerist

Privacy is a complicated thing, especially online. While we all know companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon — edge providers, in the parlance of regulators — collect and use our data, fewer of us think about how much the owners of the metaphorical pipes can see passing through them. So to that end, the FCC voted today to adopt rules designed to limit how much of internet subscribers’ data ISPs can sell, share, and trade, and to let customers have some more control over the uses of their personal information.

The 3-2 vote today neatly followed the script written by every high-profile proceeding — from net neutrality to LifeLine modernization — of the last few years, with chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel in favor, and commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissenting.

As we’ve explained before, while consumers have long-standing legal protections about phone and cable TV use data, there have (until today) been no such parallel laws for internet access data. The rule the FCC adopted today attempts to rectify that.

The rule has been in the making for some months, since the FCC voted at the end of March to first start considering privacy rules for ISPs.

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