Internet is furious after FCC ruling allows companies to ignore ‘Do Not Track’ requests

Internet is furious after FCC ruling allows companies to ignore ‘Do Not Track’ requests

A new FCC has privacy advocates up in arms.

A new ruling from the Federal Communications Commission has resulted in a wave of fury after it decided websites don’t have to honor “Do Not Track” requests from consumers.

The FCC dismissed a petition that would have forced companies like Google and Facebook to abide by these requests as proposed by Consumer Watchdog, according to an Ars Technica report.

The petition requested that the FCC “initiate a rulemaking proceeding requiring ‘edge providers’ (like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn) to honor ‘Do Not Track’ Requests from consumers,” preventing these services from requiring their users to allow them to track them.

The requirement would have allowed consumers to enable a Do Not Track setting in their browsers, which would allow them to opt out of third-party tracking. So far, companies have largely ignored these requests, so Consumer Watchdog wanted the FCC to force these services to abide by them.

Consumer Watchdog wrote: “Consumers’ privacy concerns about the Internet extend far beyond the broadband providers who are impacted by Section 222. Many consumers are as concerned—or perhaps even more worried—about the online tracking and data collection practices of edge providers… edge providers collect the same sensitive personal information that broadband Internet access service providers collect, and that the Commission is committed to protecting. If the Commission does not act to regulate the collection of personal information by edge providers, the Commission will in effect be granting a regulatory advantage to the edge providers, implicating concerns of market distortions.”

The FCC dismissed the petition, and responded that the agency did not want to regulate the Internet or Internet applications, and that Consumer Watchdog’s proposed requirement would be “inconsistent with the Commission’s articulation of the effect of its reclassification.”

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