By Raequan Harrison |Staff Writer|
A proposal to shutdown Internet tracking was annulled on Friday, Nov. 6.
According to Rueters, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dismissed a petition that would have required Internet giants, such as Facebook and Google, to let consumers opt out of having their online activity tracked.
The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, according to FCC.gov
According to The Inquirer News, Consumer Watchdog, a lobby group, filed a petition in June with the FCC asking that it enforce the honoring of tracking requests for sites that provide “content, applications, services, and devices accessed over or connected to broadband Internet access services.”
While on the Internet, everything an individual searches, types, and looks at is saved by third party users.
This process of collecting user data is considered big business by internet companies.
According to Reputation.com, “this data is essential for all businesses with a presence on the Web; it enables them to determine how, where, and when to attract your attention, thus leading to smarter, targeted, and increasingly personalized Internet marketing.”
“We believe the FCC has the authority to enforce Internet privacy protections far more broadly than they have opted to do and are obviously disappointed by this decision,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy director.
Google and Facebook were opposed to the petition.
The proposal’s intent was to stop Internet gurus from knowing what users search on the web.
Google has over 1.17 billion Internet browsers, while Facebook has 1.49 billion active users, according to statista.com.
Though the FCC enacted strong net neutrality rules earlier this year, which also provide consumer protections, it explained in a written decision that enforcing “Do Not Track” falls outside its jurisdiction, according to NBC.
Student Darin Mensen asked, “How does a ‘Do Not Track’ setting fall outside of their jurisdiction while other regulations do? And if the FCC can’t regulate companies like Google and Facebook then who can?”
“It’s a bad case of a powerful company getting stronger,” continued Mensen.
According to thinkprogress.org, the FCC justified its dismissal of the “Do Not Track” petition on grounds that the request was “inconsistent” with the agency’s role in governing Internet access.
“As a faculty member my Internet cookies are screened by the campus cyber security, and I don’t see that as an issue,” said Professor John Sarli.
“I think with the FCC decision there is a deeper problem; and it hasn’t affected me. We live in an age of technology. There isn’t a way around it,” continued Sarli.