The Federal Trade Commission has sent out an order to several big internet service providers in the United States, telling them to detail the data that they collect on their customers and the purpose for which it’s collected. This may signal new regulatory action from the FTC as the information may reveal patterns of abuse or otherwise concerning use of data against which states or the FTC may want to take action.
The letters for this information have been sent by the Federal Trade Commission to Google, T-Mobile, Comcast, and the fixed and wireless sub-companies of both Verizon and AT&T. These “represent a range of large and small ISPs, as well as fixed and mobile Internet providers,” said a spokesperson for the FTC.
This new push is over and above the consumer protection rules that the FTC already has in place to take action against internet service providers that are found to be abusing the privacy of their customers. The information that the FTC wants from ISPs include the categories of personal information collected, any third parties that are provided the data, how long it’s retained, how it’s aggregated, anonymized or deidentified, and more.
The agency says that it has asked the ISPs for data so that it can 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.”
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