US Trade Commission details invasive data collection practices by major ISPs – JURIST – News


A report by U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff found on Thursday that many Internet service providers (ISPs) collect and share large amounts of their customers’ data without offering them meaningful choices about how to use it. of this data.

The information report arises from a series of orders issued by the U.S. FTC in 2019 under section 6 (b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act and covers the data collection practices of six major ISPs, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Google Fiber.

These ISPs together represent 98% of the mobile Internet market in the United States. They also offer a range of other services including voice, content, smart devices, advertising and analytics, which increases the volume and type of consumer data they can collect.

The report identified “troubling data collection practices” among several of the ISPSs, including the combination of data between product lines; classify clients into sensitive categories such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political affiliations, economic status and religious beliefs; targeted advertising by combining personal, application usage and web browsing data; and real-time location sharing with third party clients.

While many ISP companies have provided privacy protections and promised not to sell consumers’ personal data, they have allowed that data to be “used, transferred and monetized” by third parties. They also hid disclosures about such practices in fine print, prompting and enticing customers to share even more information. So while these ISPs claimed to offer customers choices regarding the collection and use of their data, their privacy policies made it difficult for customers to effectively exercise this right.

The Lina Khan chair noted the report highlights fundamental questions around the conditioning of the use of essential technologies. The FTC said it would use its legal authority to “put in place non-discrimination rules, privacy protections and other basic requirements necessary to create a healthier market.”

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