“There is a basic truth: It is the consumer’s information. It is not the information of the network the consumer hires to deliver that information.”
These were the words of Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C., when it was announced that Federal regulators have approved new broadband privacy rules that require internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to ask for customers’ permission before using or sharing much of their data. He went on to say that the information used “should be the consumers’ choice, not the choice of some corporate algorithm.”
Privacy groups were, of course, thrilled with the new rules, which move the United States closer to the stricter policies in European nations. The industries that depend on online user data were not quite as happy, with the Association of National Advertisers labeling the regulations “unprecedented, misguided, counterproductive, and potentially extremely harmful.”
What does all of this really mean for consumers?