A new US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report states Internet Service Providers promise not to sell personal user data, but they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others.
The new FTC report studied the privacy practices of six unnamed broadband ISPs and their advertising arms, and found that the companies routinely collect an ocean of consumer location, browsing, and behavioral data. They then share this data with dodgy middlemen via elaborate business arrangements that often aren’t adequately disclosed to broadband consumers.
“Even though several of the ISPs promise not to sell consumers personal data, they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others and hide disclosures about such practices in fine print of their privacy policies,” the FTC report said.
The FTC also found that while many ISPs provide consumers tools allowing them to opt out of granular data collection, those tools are cumbersome to use—when they work at all.