FCC Updates Rules For Internet Business Connections

On Friday, Oct. 7, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled its new proposed rules for internet business connections. If approved, the updated rules will bring reforms to the market for broadband connections; often used by big businesses.

FCC's Previous Regulations

According to The Hill, the rules concern the special access market for high-capacity and dedicated broadband connections ideal for big companies. For instance, a business internet connection might be used to bring broadband to a cell tower or to link a bank's network to an ATM. There are companies that have long complained that in this lucrative field of broadband connections some major players abuse their power in order to dominate the market.

When the commission voted to formally consider his proposal earlier this year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that this is about planning for the 5G future rather than just being about consumers. At the time of the vote, Tom Wheeler's proposal has been modified. Now, the FCC comes with another proposal for updated rules. The commission is charged with protecting digital privacy of customers of telecommunications carriers.

Before the advent of the internet, for decades the FCC has focused its activity to requiring telephone companies to protect the customers' information associated with a phone call. The regulations in place limit how a phone company can repurpose and resell data about customers' phone activity without their consent. However, the broadband service today is not regulated by similar and this gap that must be closed in order to provide similar protections to consumers who use the internet network.
FCC's Updated Proposal

According to FCC's official website, the new proposal rules aim to provide consumers increased online security, transparency and choice. For instance, under the proposal rules, ISPs would be required to notify their customers about the information they are collecting, with whom they share the information and for what purpose that information can be shared and used. The full Commission will debate and take into consideration the proposed privacy rules on October 27, at its upcoming monthly meeting.

Before using or sharing any sensitive data, ISPs would be required to obtain affirmative "opt-in" consent. The use and sharing of non-sensitive data would be subject to opt-out consent. In the category of sensitive information, the following would be included: health information, children's information, geo-location information, social security number, financial information, app usage history, web browsing history and the content of communications such as emails or text.

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