Consent Needed with F.C.C.’s New Ruling on ISPs

by Jannette Cabardo, Data Team Manager

The Federal Communications Commission’s ruling last October stated that Internet Service Providers must get permission from users to gather and share consumer’s private data such as web browsing history, app usage, and geolocation. Before the ruling, broadband providers could track users, unless they requested otherwise. With the speedy rise of smart devices that use broadband services, like refrigerators or central automation devices, ISP’s would be able to gather information on e.g. what is inside the refrigerator or scan other automation devices. The increasing amount of personal data being collected can be used to target customers with ads relevant to their online behavior.


After the ruling, there are additional requirements that these companies must meet. The new rules require broadband providers to obtain permission from customers to gather and share data based on their online preferences and information such as location, financial information and app usage. An explicit consent must be obtained from the subscribers before broadband companies can use and share their data with third party vendors.

Some global telcos have made large acquisitions to monetize their advertising inventory. With F.C.C.’s ruling, this plan can add additional requirements to their initiatives. For ISP’s, an implementation of a consent mechanism can be a solution to ensure that only necessary information are collected. Proper disclosure in the privacy policy will also notify users which information, on a very minimum, will be collected to use the service.

If you are an ISP and would like to sit down and discuss how TRUSTe can help, please contact us here.