U.S. Communications Agency Unveils Internet Privacy Proposal

by David Shepardson, Reuters

geralt / Pixabay

geralt / Pixabay

The head of the U.S. communications regulator on Thursday released a long-awaited proposal to protect consumers’ Internet privacy, but it would not bar any data collection practices.

The plan would require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent, disclose data collection, protect personal information and report breaches. Broadband providers currently collect consumer data without consent and some use that data for targeted advertising, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates.

The proposal submitted by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler does not prohibit Internet providers from using or sharing customer data, for any purpose. The FCC would not extend the broadband provider privacy rules to sites such as Twitter, Google or Facebook.

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Digital Democracy has urged the FCC to write sweeping privacy protections for broadband users in the United States.

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, praised the proposal as “a major step forward for the United States, which has lagged behind other countries when it comes to protecting consumer privacy rights.”

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association said it was “disappointed by Chairman Wheeler’s apparent decision to propose prescriptive rules on (Internet service providers) that are at odds with the requirements imposed on other large online entities.”

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