Skip to main content

FCC Won't Require Edge to Honor 'Do Not Track'

The FCC is not going to become a "do not track" enforcer.

The commission has dismissed a request by consumer watchdog groups to require edge providers -- such as Google, Facebook, Pandora, YouTube and Netflix -- to "honor 'Do Not Track' requests from consumers."

The chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau said in denying the request that "the Commission has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers."

The FCC did not apply many of the Title II regs to ISPs, but did decide to include the Sec. 222 CPNI protections, concluding that "broadband providers serve as a necessary conduit for information passing between an Internet user and Internet sites or other Internet users, and are in a position to obtain vast amounts of personal and proprietary information about their customers."

The FCC's CPNI protections were initially applied to phone service, migrated to video service and now to broadband. But the bureau signaled that would not extent to edge providers information collection.

When the FCC reclassified Internet access as a Title II common carrier service earlier this year, it also got authority to regulate customer proprietary network information (CPNI) for broadband service, just as it does for traditional MVPD service--phone and video--provided by those ISPs. CPNI is information that identifies a customer, not the content of the service.

The FCC has yet to come up with a regulatory regime for protecting broadband service CPN, which is part of a separate proceeding.

At the same time, the FCC said in its Open Internet order reclassifying Internet access under Title II that it was not regulating the Internet, per se, or any applications or content, saying Title II only applies to the transmission component.

The groups had said the FCC, in addition to coming up with those ISP CPNI regulations, the commission should also "promulgate rules protecting the authorized use of consumers’ personal information by requiring edge providers to honor ‘Do Not Track’ Requests."

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.