According to the recent report the FCC won’t force Google and others to comply with Do-Not-Track requests issued by users. The decision is a response to a petition filed by Consumer Watchdog, a non-for-profit group which fights for taxpayers and consumers’ interests.
Usually, Internet users can tweak their browsers setting into ordering websites to not track them while they are online. Even though the feature is available in nearly all web-browsers, websites often ignore such requests.
But Consumer Watchdog argued that abiding by the requests is mutually beneficial for edge providers and consumers alike. For instance, if you choose to follow the do-no-track rules, customers would trust you more and more people will be encouraged to use your products and services.
The group also cited the new net neutrality rules recently issued by the FCC. Consumer advocates stated that the new rules reclassified Internet Service Providers (IPSs) as utilities. As a result, they must comply with the privacy rules sated in the Communications Act.
Although the rules in the act were designed to regulate phone service providers, they are now used to regulate ISP activity as well until new rules are drafted. Yet, the FCC will issue new rules for IPSs, rather for ‘edge service’ such as Google and Facebook.
Yet, Consumer Watchdog urged the federal agency to expand its oversight to edge services, too. In the petition, the group argued that consumers are concerned about their online privacy ‘far beyond’ the provisions of the Communications Act on broadband providers.
The group also said that it had received many requests from consumers that were worried about their personal data safety on the Internet, citing threats from edge providers that engage in controversial data collection and tracking operations.
On Friday, the commission said that the association between ISPs and edge providers was ‘tenuous’ and that the request was ‘inconsistent’ with the agency’s goals when it reclassified broadband providers and the privacy issues it was trying to address through that reclassification.
Jamie Court, head of the Consumer Watchdog, was irked with the agency’s decision. He argued that protecting Internet users against Verizon and AT&T but granting them no protection against Google and Facebook was bluntly ‘outrageous.’
Mr. Court recently told reporters that the group would ask again the agency to reconsider the petition. He also hopes that the issue may reach Congress.
Image Source: Flickr