FCC Passes Sweeping New Internet Privacy Laws — Here’s How They’ll Affect Your Web Browsing Experience

FCC Passes Sweeping New Internet Privacy Laws — Here’s How They’ll Affect Your Web Browsing Experience
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday morning, in an unprecedented 3-2 vote, approved a slate of new rules intended to protect broadband internet users’ personal information from being collected by their internet service provider (ISP) without the user’s express consent. ‘Personal information’, according to the agency, includes the customer’s app usage, browsing history, mobile location data, and other personal information such as saved passwords and form data that is collected and stored as the customer browses the web.

The new rules, in effect, stipulate that all internet service providers — including Verizon, COX, and Comcast— obtain their customer’s explicit, expressed consent prior to using or sharing any collected data with advertising firms or other 3rd parties. Extremely personal information, such as Social Security numbers, health, financial, and personal account login data, is also protected under the new rules.

In addition, Thursday’s measure includes a statute allowing the FCC to impose these same rules on other forms of information in the future; however, certain types of data, including a customer’s IP address and device ID number, for example, are not forms of ‘personal information’ as defined by these rules.

“It’s the consumers’ information,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “How it is used should be the consumers’ choice. Not the choice of some corporate algorithm.” These sweeping changes come amidst an increasing number of wireless broadband providers allegedly collecting customer browsing data, prior to selling that data to 3rd party firms — such as advertising agencies, so as to generate additional profit from the sale of targeted ads.

Advertising on the internet is quite the profitable endeavor, if you play your cards right; so perhaps it comes as little surprise that your ISP has been increasingly monitoring you as you casually browse the web? Well, either way, these new rules are meant to protect you, the end user, and all that you do online.

Pursuant with these changes, customers shouldn’t expect their current web browsing experience to change in any noticeable or significant way. The FCC is mainly hoping that these new rules will lead to new avenues by which customers can leverage more control over the information accessible by their ISP moving forward — such as by creating dialogue boxes within which customers can share their concerns directly.

Check out the brief video clip below, which explains the new measures and how they will affect your internet privacy.

As a die-hard Apple fanatic, I personally find this move by the FCC a major step forward in the relentless fight for internet privacy. The truth is, even users of Apple’s Mac computers — machines known historically for their enhanced security, among other things — are susceptible to being watched closely, and all of the shady business practices of money-hungry internet providers. So these new rules, especially for Mac users, will provide that additional, much needed layer of protection while we about our online business.

Do you agree with the FCC’s decisions? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image: Yeamake / Shutterstock.com
Social Sharing