The Federal Trade Commission has ordered seven broadband providers to hand over information about the companies’ respective privacy practices related to consumers and their devices.
Companies that received the order, issued Tuesday, include AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
The agency, which has greater oversight over ISPs following the 2017 overturn of net neutrality regulations, voted unanimously and plans to evaluate how broadband companies collect, store, use, and share data about customers and their devices.
Part of the reason for the probe is telecommunication companies’ shift into vertical platforms that include ad-supported content, the FTC said.
According to the FTC, the term device applies to any computing device with an operating system, including smartphone, tablet, wearable, sensor, TV, set-top box, cable box, or router.
Information the broadband providers must submit includes:
- What categories of personal information about consumers or their devices is collected, including why the data is collected or used; how it’s collected; whether the data is shared with third parties; company policies for access to the information; and how long the data is kept
- Whether the data is deidentified, aggregated, or anonymized, and the process of how it’s done
- If consumers are offered options about the collection, storage, use and sharing of personal information, and if the service providers have denied or downgraded services to consumers that don’t opt-in to data collection
- Any procedures or processes for allowing customers to access, fix, or delete their personal information
Providers involved in the probe have 45 days to submit the information on their privacy practices.