Think about what would happen if your telecom company tracked everything you did. The websites you visit, the apps you use, the TV shows you watch, the stores you shop at and the restaurants you eat at. Then they take that information and sell it to advertisers. It is something that is very possible for them to do.
Lawmakers voted to overturn privacy rules that required telecom companies to get customers’ permission before sharing their web-browsing and app usage history with third parties. The White House said President Trump intends to sign the measure into law.
The telecom providers had argued the rules put them at a competitive disadvantage to online ad giants Google and Facebook, which generally aren’t regulated by the FCC.
Google and Facebook have built huge businesses powered by reams of data they collect about consumers’ online actions, both on their own properties and across the web. That trove of information largely explains their dominance — combined, they have a roughly 47% share of the global digital ad market, according to eMarketer.
But online advertising executives say telecom providers potentially have access to more powerful data than the two tech powerhouses. Their networks — both wired and wireless — could give them a window into nearly everything a user is doing on the web.
“ISPs like Verizon can now start building and selling profiles about consumers that include their friends, the news articles they read, where they shop, where they bank, along with their physical location,” said Jason Kint, chief executive of digital media trade body Digital Content Next and a vocal proponent of the rules that Congress voted to repeal.
These Federal Communications Commission rules haven’t had a chance to go into effect and it looks like they won’t get that chance.
This is something that is done already by Google and Facebook, but do you think it’s a good idea to allow more companies to track your online and media consumption?