For once, a new set of positive rules regarding consumer privacy has been approved. The FCC approved the new ruling requiring ISPs to obtain permission from users before they can gather or use personal information. This is a big step forward for privacy advocates and a positive trend for consumers all over the world. Additionally, there will be more transparency regarding how customer data is used, and who it is shared with.
A Smart Move By The FCC
The specifics of this new privacy law are quite intriguing. ISPs will be required to let users opt-in for sharing information and usage statistics. Moreover, once data has been collected, ISPs must reveal with whom they are sharing the details, and how the information is being used. For now it remains unclear, though, if this will also affect internet service providers outside of the US.
It makes perfect sense to tackle privacy issues in such a positive manner. With the number of data breaches becoming far too common, and consumers not knowing who has access to their personal information, things had to change sooner rather than later. An opt-in system is far better than an opt-out solution, as the latter makes data sharing mandatory, which should be avoided at all costs.
It is positive to see the FCC take this bold decision, even though a lot of internet service providers will not like the idea by any means. Then again, ever since ISPs are regulated as common carriers, such changes only seemed to be a matter of time. It is due time that consumer privacy is respected, rather than completely destroyed.
At the same time, there is a growing concern over how ISPs will handle these new rulings. It is not unlikely that they will create very annoying and persistent campaigns to get users to opt-in to data sharing. If this were to be the case, their subscriber numbers would start to dwindle rather quickly, as consumers are not interested in dealing with this unnecessary data snooping.
Various groups are already showing concern over this regulation, as they worry that consumers will “miss out on developments accidentally”. It is a mystery as to how consumer behavior on the Internet could help ISPs in this regard. Their partners, to whom the providers sell important information, would benefit from that data for sure.
Decisions like these will always be greeted with favoritism and opposition at the same time. Making privacy more complex should never be the primary objective, yet that seems to be the case right now. Uniform privacy rules are direly needed, and data snooping should be prevented above anything else.
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