US ISPs, can sell users’ data without consent

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the suspension of the privacy rules just before they came into effect. Someone considers the privacy the modern utopia, it is daily threatened by law enforcement and intelligence agencies and authoritarian regimes. Unfortunately, I have bad news for privacy defenders. On October 2016, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a set of privacy rules on ISPs that limit them from using user data for marketing or commercial purposes. The rules prohibit ISPs from sharing user data with third parties without the user’s explicit consent. The set of rules also requires ISPs to implement “reasonable measures” to protect data from cyber threats.

Back to the present, the FCC announced the suspension of the privacy rules just before they came into effect. “”Until that happens, however, we will work together on harmonizing the FCC’s privacy rules for broadband providers with the FTC’s standards for other companies in the digital economy. Accordingly, the FCC today stayed one of its rules before it could take effect on March 2.” reads a joint statement of FCC chairman Ajit Pai And Acting FTC chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen on protecting Americans’ online privacy. “This rule is not consistent with the FTC’s privacy framework. The stay will remain in place only until the FCC is able to rule on a petition for reconsideration of its privacy rules.” This means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can use customers’ data for the commercial purposes.

Consider that ISPs are a sort of sentinel of the Internet, from their point of view it is possible to monitor users’ activities and profile them. Data collected on the users then are shared with advertising firms for commercial purposes. Ajit Pai is the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, he was designated Chairman by President Donald Trump in January 2017. Ajit Pai is known as an opponent of the net neutrality, he publicly defined it “a mistake.” Pai is arguing that the privacy rules favored IT tech giants like Google and Facebook, which are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), over ISPs like Verizon and Comcast. So, he is asking for the equity in the treatment for IT firms by the FTC and the FCC. “All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, enforced by the same agency.” FCC said in a statement. The FCC will block new privacy rules because it will never go in contrast with IT giants like Google and Facebook on the way they commercialize usersì data, it is likely the FCC would never restore those suspended rules on ISPs.

Pierluigi Paganini

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