The senate and subsequently the house have made a ruling to overturn the FCC privacy rules put into place during the waning Obama years. This has created a large stir as people fear their ISPs will now be building profiles on each individual and selling it to anyone who is willing to pay, however, this fear is irrational.
Prior to the establishment of these rules by the FCC nothing damaging was occurring to citizens and this will continue because ISPs don’t plan on creating detailed dossiers on every individual. Primarily because they can’t as they only have access to simple data and app usage (analytics). This information gathering is also not individual as ISPs are using the information for demographics that can be sold to advertisers. ISPs don’t intend on harming their customers and will not sell an individual’s information, but rather, enrich the experience of its users while driving our economy forward.
Prior to the FCC privacy laws, customers always had the ability to opt in and enable their ISP to sell their usage data. With the removal of such privacy laws, customers will likely receive an opt out option rather than the previous opt in. Not only that, but competitors like Facebook and Google have been doing this for a while as they are not restricted by such privacy laws from the FCC. This put their competitors at an advantage. A sort of perverted absolute advantage as one group had the same information, but was simply unable to profit from it.
By enabling ISPs to sell this information, competition between industries will grow and this is what keeps the American system functioning — competition. On the other hand, information asymmetry does great job in evoking fear from the masses. The majority of Americans don’t know the type of information being sold and thus fear the worst — with some even fearing their financial information can now be purchased by any individual with the cash.
The best way to eliminate fear and encourage the sharing of small bits of information to enrich user experience requires trust between the people/users and the ISPs. A transparent policy and announcement is necessary to garner the trust of users; allowing users to then openly share app usage. This shouldn’t be seen as a one-way stream of cash as both the users and the ISPs are benefactors in this situation with both gaining either cash or a better experience with this situation.