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FCC Asked to Apply Do Not Track to Google, Facebook

Consumer Watchdog has petitioned the FCC to come up with a new rule requiring edge providers to honor "do not track" requests from Web users.

The FCC decided in reclassifying ISP's under common carrier regs to apply Sec. 222 Title II protections for customer proprietary network information (CPNI) to broadband, but not the phone-specific rules on how to protect that privacy.

The FCC conceded that left a gap while it comes up with bright-line rules or other enforcement mechanisms.

But Consumer Watchdog said the commission already has the authority and responsibility to insure that edge providers like Google and Facebook honor do not track requests from Web browsers--they are not currently required to do so--and that that rule can be used in combination with any new CPNI rules the FCC comes up with

"Because the FCC has found that concerns about Internet privacy can hinder broadband deployment, rules to protect privacy, such as requiring companies to honor Do Not Track requests, are necessary to promote improved broadband use," the group said, adding that people are just as concerned with online tracking practices of edge providers as they are those of ISPs.

Consumer Watchdog says the FCC has the authority under both Title I and Sec. 706 authority, the latter the general mandate to insure that advanced telecommunications is available to all Americans in a timely fashion.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.