The Federal Communications Commission is proposing some new, stringent rules which would protect consumer’s privacy. The new rules would restrict what types of information your internet service provider could share, and what they could actually market to you, based on your online behavior.
They seem to be basing the precedent for these new rules on the fact that phone companies are restricted from what they can do based on your phone activities, and the organization feels the internet should fall under the same restrictive guidelines.
The new rules will make customers have to opt-in to having their data provided to third parties, which include advertisers. However, that doesn’t prevent them from sending you ads related to their services. For example, your internet provider could show you ads for their cable TV service or telephone service, however, customers can also opt out of those ads.
The way things are right now, most customers have their data shared because they hastily agree to terms of service without reading them. Recently, AT&T came up with a feature that actually charges users a fee if they opt out of having their data tracked, but under the new rules, this would be a big no-no.
Up until now, the FCC has been more on the offensive, punishing companies along with the FTC for misusing consumer data. Now they are trying to create rules to set a precedent for how companies should behave, instead of just punishing those who they catch acting badly. Many people think that this move will be good for net neutrality, because before the FCC was trying to treat internet providers with the same neutrality rules that phone companies have. Now they are starting to realize that the internet needs its own set of rules so consumers can browse the web as they please, with as much freedom as possible.