Thanks to the recent repeal of Obama-era privacy rules applying to internet service providers, there has been a lot of news and hyperbole about what this means for consumer privacy. Every time I saw a Facebook friend angrily post “I’m going to buy my congressman’s browsing history,” I had to restrain myself from responding “That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!” (Thanks for the catchphrase, Esurance!)
The rhetoric was so out-of-hand that the chairman of the FCC and the acting chairman of the FTC took to the Washington Post with an op-ed on the topic. A summary of the issue from the IAPP offers a more balanced look at the issues involved. Either way, a few things are clear. Consumers care about their privacy. The FTC is committed to enforcing privacy regulations on behalf of consumers. Lastly, regulatory jurisdiction over broadband provider’s privacy and data security practices is still unclear.
What if you don’t want 4INFO doing what I just described? If you have “limit ad tracking” turned on for your mobile device, then we don’t keep or use the data we get from it and we won’t send you an interest-based ad either. Also, if you opt-out from receiving 4INFO’s interest-based advertising (there are a few ways to do it), then we also don’t keep or use your data. We don’t want to collect data from anybody who doesn’t want to share it. Yeah, it’s hard to know you’re sharing it… I get it. But posts like these are meant to level the playing field – to give consumers a better shot at controlling what information they share and how it is used. Pay attention to the apps and sites you use, and what they do with your data, and take control of what you share with companies like us.