FCC puts its broadband privacy rules on ice

This buys time to work on a common rule set for everyone.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said his agency would halt broadband privacy rules due to go in effect on March 2nd, and he's making good on his word. The Commission has stayed the regulation at the last minute, giving the regulator time to create a more "comprehensive and consistent" privacy framework (that is, one that encompasses everything) in tandem with the FTC. This doesn't mean that your internet provider will run roughshod over your privacy in the meantime, the FCC argues. It'll just have to honor the rules that have been in place for roughly two years, and will still have to account for rules kicking in later this year.

The question, of course, is whether or not these harmonious privacy guidelines will make broadband customers happy. The newly-paused rules would have required an opt-in for personal data collection like your browsing history and location, and would have demanded that ISPs explicitly inform you about what data they're collecting as well as any breaches. There's no guarantee you'll get any of that from a harmonized rule set -- especially not when Pai has made deregulation his primary goal. Your internet privacy may not erode significantly, but don't expect it to improve much, either.