The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revealed a privacy proposal last Thursday that will impose guidelines on how internet providers like Comcast, Cox, AT&T and Verizon share subscriber data with advertisers.
An initial privacy plan was presented back in March but internet providers argued that the old proposal gave stricter rules when compared to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulated websites like Facebook and Google.
Unlike the March proposal, the new revised rules won't require customer permission for "non-sensitive" data like names and addresses. This data will be automatically open to sharing but customers can opt-out anytime.
However, providers will still have to seek permission from customers first before they could share "sensitive" data such as physical location, browsing history, email content, app usage, social security numbers, and other private information.
In contrast to "non-sensitive" data sharing, "sensitive" data sharing will be opt-in.
Customers must also be informed about what data is collected, how and why it is shared, and with whom it will be shared.
The new proposal will also require providers to make this information available to new users and they are not allowed to refuse service to customers who opt-out of data sharing.
Another rule concerns data breaches. Internet providers must notify customers within 30 days of a hack. They are also required to notify the FCC within seven days after a breach is discovered.
The scheduled vote for the new proposal is set for October 27.
If approved, the proposed rules will only affect fixed and mobile internet providers. Websites and web services like Facebook and Google will still be governed separately by the FTC.
The FCC also noted that it will not regulate other services offered separately by the internet providers nor will it "address issues such as government surveillance, encryption or law enforcement."
To read the FCC's fact sheet on this Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal, click here.