The FTC issues orders to 7 broadband companies to analyze ISP privacy practices given they are also ad-support content platforms

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that they have issued orders to seven U.S. Internet broadband providers to analyze how these broadband companies carry out the data collection and distribution process.

Seven broadband companies including AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Comcast Cable Communications doing business as Xfinity, Google Fiber Inc., T-Mobile US Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Cellco Partnership doing business as Verizon Wireless, received orders from the FTC for monitoring the companies’ privacy policies, procedures, and practices.

According to the FTC press release, “This study is to better understand Internet service providers’ privacy practices in light of the evolution of telecommunications companies into vertically integrated platforms that also provide advertising-supported content. Under current law, the FTC has the ability to enforce against unfair and deceptive practices involving Internet service providers.”

What information does the FTC plan to retrieve?

The FTC is authorized to issue the “Orders to File a Special Report by Section 6(b) of the FTC Act”, the press release reads.

The Commission seeks to obtain information on the categories of personal information collected about consumers or their devices, including the purpose for which the information is collected or used. Also, the techniques for collecting such information:

  • whether the information collected is shared with third parties;
  • internal policies for access to such data; and
  • how long the information is retained;

They will also analyze whether the information is aggregated, anonymized or de-identified. The other factors they’ll analyze include:

  • Copies of the companies’ notices and disclosures to consumers about their data collection practices;
  • Whether the companies offer consumers choices about the collection, retention, use, and disclosure of personal information, and whether the companies have denied or degraded service to consumers who decline to opt-in to data collection; and
  • Procedures and processes for allowing consumers to access, correct, or delete their personal information.

“The FTC has given the companies up to 45 days to hand over the requested information”, The Verge reports.

A user wrote on HackerNews, “It’s good to check on this of course but…as far as ISPs go, this is actually about #3 on the list of problems I want the FTC or someone to fix”

“How about the fact that there’s usually only one choice. Or that Internet that everyone wants can be force-bundled with ridiculous things no one wants (like a home phone line and minimum TV bundle), that we tolerate because there is no option. Or prices that go up forever with no improvements, except when they all magically found a way the day after Google Fiber was announced. These companies abuse their positions and need to be checked for that in addition to privacy”, the user added.

To know more about this news in detail, visit the official press release.

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Security News – Packt Hub authored by Savia Lobo. Read the original post at: https://hub.packtpub.com/the-ftc-issues-orders-to-7-broadband-companies-to-analyze-isp-privacy-practices-given-they-are-also-ad-support-content-platforms/