DIGITIZATION

Consumer privacy protection in the U.S. is now gone

NYTimes Loss of internet privacyFor decades federal rules have protected the privacy of the information in a phone call. In 2016 Obama extended those same protections to the internet. March 28 2017 Trump undid them.

To get online access you pay internet service providers, such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Charter. These companies know all of your browsing history, your shopping habits and other information that comes from your online activity. So the question is: Who owns the information that goes over a network – the consumer, or the network hired to carry the information? 

You would perhaps believe that the digital tracks that you leave using a network are your own property. In fact you created these tracks, and you even paid the internet service providers to get access to the internet.

However, from March 28 2017 the House voted to undo rules that keep internet service providers from selling your personal information. The bill was already approved by the Senate, on a party-line vote. This is according to an interesting article in the New York Times March 29. The article is written by Tom Wheeler and it is entitled “How the Republicans sold your privacy to internet providers”. You can read the full article by clicking here.  Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) was the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, from 2013 to 2017.

I wrote a piece on my blog October 29 2016 about why internet service providers (ISP’s) are interested in your online purchases. They want to show you personalized ads. Companies like Google and Facebook can gather and share your consumer data without permission (in the U.S.) while the ISP’s could not – until now. The reason has been that the ISP’s have been classified as utility-like services, which Google and Facebook are not. Now, the internet service providers are not longer under this restriction.

So data is becoming a currency – your data has value for the ISP’s. In relation to the Service Innovation Triangle, this means that the link between the sub-trangles Technology and Service System becomes stronger. The Service System is about creating consistent customer experiences. Now, also the internet service providers will have full access, not only to use the information that comes from your online activity, but also to sell it.

Consumer privacy protection in the U.S. is now gone.

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