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FCC to consider making ISPs ask your permission before sharing/selling your personal info

A good portion of modern marketing and business in general – especially in this digital age – demands that demographic and personal information is passed around.


The demographic free-for-all

I have always felt that I have a right to know what information is being collected about me and how that information is being used. Because it’s my data and how it’s used and shared should be my choice. There are plenty of people out there that don’t believe that.

A good portion of modern marketing and business in general – especially in this digital age – demands that demographic and personal information is passed around. I get it. That’s how sales are made. That’s what makes the world go round. But establishing baseline privacy standards for ISPs seems like a common sense idea.

Permission granted

The FCC is following suit: Earlier this month the FCC announced a proposal that would regulate how ISPs (over which all that data flows) have to get an individual’s permission to collect and share all that juicy, valuable information. And the proposal, as mapped out in an FCC factsheet, has at its foundation is not so much what ISPs can do, as what they have to tell you.

According to an article published by the, “the three core principles of the proposal are choice, transparency, and security.” To be more specific: ISPs have to let you opt-in or opt-out of certain kinds of data collection; they have to tell you what the data they’re collecting is and what they do with it; and any data they do collect, they have to protect.

Share and share alike?

It’s a given that given that the job of an ISP is to move our data around. If you think about it we’re consenting to some use just by virtue of the fact that we use a wireless network. Data like our email and home address are needed in order to pay bills and whatnot. Our ISP is automatically allowed to use this kind of info in order to market a higher service tier to us.

But it doesn’t stop there: ISPs can also legally both collect and share some personal data unless you tell them otherwise. For example, I subscribe to DISH but it doesn’t deter Time-Warner from contacting me and they can do so without my permission unless I say otherwise. Usually on their emails I can check a small box that tells them “unsubscribe” or leave me alone of whatever.

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Now the FCC is stepping in with its proposal that consumers must opt-in to a particular offer or service ahead of time. This is good for consumers because it gives us some measure of control over who is getting out personal date and it takes significant power away from ISPs who prefer to work unencumbered when it comes to personal data.

It all comes to a head at the end of the month. The FCC will vote on this measure in March 31 open meeting.


Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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