Broadband Internet access service (BIAS) providers collect, use, and share personal data from their customers. An ISP handles all of its customers’ network traffic, which means it has an unobstructed view of all of their unencrypted online activity – including the websites they visit and the applications they use, among other information. If customers have a mobile device, their provider can track their physical and online activities throughout the day in real time. Until 2015, there have been no specific privacy protections for consumers using those services.
That changed when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made the decision to apply the privacy requirements of the Communications Act to BIAS providers. The FCC released rules for broadband privacy in 2016, but these were recently overturned when the current Administration signed into law a Congressional Review Act measure on the issue.
CDT continues to advocates for strong privacy protections for the broadband users and encourages individuals to take steps to enhance their personal privacy protections.