Seattle writes its own broadband privacy rules, ignores FCC regulations

internetThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently repealed broadband privacy regulation, a decision that upset many across the country, and allowed internet service providers (ISPs) to collect and sell user browsing data. According to TechCrunch, the city of Seattle, Washington decided to rewrite the rules and protect citizens living in its territory.

The FCC repealed a law that would have increased requirements for transparency and security practices, as well as protected browsing history, meaning that ISPs would have had to get permission from their consumers to track and sell it. However, this law never reached fruition.

Seattle’s CTO, Michael Mattmiller, said that when the rule was repealed, “the mayor directed us to look for authority the city had to restore – or perhaps not restore, but make a rule like it.”

They found the authority they needed in municipal code, which governs cable franchises. This is mostly directed towards TV services, but Mattmiller said that setting “privacy standards for subscribers of cable service and other services provided over the cable system” fit the bill.

Seattle’s ruling was passed on May 3rd, requiring cable internet providers to garner opt-in consent before using browsing history or any other kind of internet usage data for its own purposes. In addition, ISPs are required to provide their privacy statement to city authorities, which will then undergo yearly inspection.  ISPs have to comply with the rule by May 24th. Seattle residents might expect to receive an update from their ISP asking you to opt in to a data collection practice.