FCC will block Obama tighter broadband privacy rules

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ajit Pai, Federal Communications Commission

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will block Obama administration rules that subject broadband providers to stricter scrutiny than websites, a spokesman said on Friday, in a victory for internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications.

The rules approved by the FCC in October in a 3-2 vote were aimed at protecting sensitive personal consumer data.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai believes all companies in the "online space should be subject to the same rules, and the federal government should not favor one set of companies over another," spokesman Mark Wigfield said in a statement.

Pai plans by March 2 to delay the implementation of the rules, which subject companies to stricter oversight than websites under Federal Trade Commission rules, the spokesman said. Such a temporary stay is a first step toward permanently preventing the rules from taking effect.

The rules would subject broadband internet service providers to more stringent requirements than websites like Facebook, Twitter or Alphabet's Google.

Providers would need to obtain consumer consent before using certain user data for advertising and internal marketing. They would be required to get consent for details like precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children's information, Web browsing history, app usage history and communication content.

For less sensitive information such as email addresses or service tiers, consumers would be able to opt out.


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