WASHINGTON — Cable and wireless companies would need permission from customers before sharing sensitive personal data, such as the contents of emails, financial information, browsing history and a mobile device's geographic location, under a proposal released Thursday by the head of the Federal Communications Commission.
But AT&T, Charter Communications, Verizon Communications and other providers of high-speed Internet service would not have to get a user's approval before sharing any other "nonsensitive" data, such as a person's name and address, according to revisions FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made to tougher restrictions he proposed in March.
That earlier proposal, which was criticized by the broadband industry, would have required customers to opt in before any of their personal information could be shared by their Internet service provider.
Wheeler's new plan distinguishes between types of information and makes only the sharing of sensitive data subject to prior customer approval. Customers would have to opt out of the sharing of nonsensitive data.
In all cases, broadband providers would have to notify customers about the type of information being collected, how that information could be used and the types of entities with which the information is shared.
"The bottom line is that the information you share with your broadband provider is yours," Wheeler said in a blog post on the FCC's website Thursday. "With the FCC's new privacy protections, you will have the right to determine how it's used."
The proposal is scheduled to be voted on by the FCC at its Oct. 27 meeting. The new rules would apply only to broadband providers, which are under the FCC's oversight, and not to individual websites or social networks, the agency said.