The CTIA, a lobbyist group representing mobile Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint, has filed a new document opposing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule changes. New rules, scheduled to take effect on or after December 4, 2017, will require ISPs to get opt-in permission before sharing user data, including browsing and app history, with advertisers or other third parties. The CTIA is arguing that “Web browsing and app usage history are not ‘sensitive information.'”
“To justify diverging from the FTC’s framework and defining Web browsing history as ‘sensitive,’ the commission and the [privacy rule supporters] both cherry-picked evidence in an attempt to show that ISPs have unique and comprehensive access to consumers’ online information,” the CTIA wrote. “As the full record shows, however, this is simply not true. Indeed, even a prominent privacy advocacy organization asserted that it is ‘obvious that the more substantial threats for consumers are not ISPs,’ but rather other large edge providers.” By “edge providers,” the CTIA is talking about email, search and social media providers, such as Google and Facebook.