The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday took aim at a popular internet service that critics say is being used to collect and share personal data without consent, and urged the industry to improve privacy protections for consumers.
The Federal Communications Board, which is responsible for regulating internet service providers, issued the letter, which called the company known as the “internet speed reader” “a data gathering tool” and said it “has become a tool that enables law enforcement to track and collect the personal data of Americans online.”
The letter said the “Internet Speed Reader” “can collect and store personal data from you, such as IP address, and the data can be used to generate reports, which are used to enforce federal laws including privacy laws, and can be shared with other law enforcement agencies for investigations, criminal and terrorism investigations.”
It also said the company collects “unique identifiers” that allow it to identify users and content, such in cases where the internet speed reader collects data from multiple devices.
It said the speed reader “provides access to data for law enforcement and other government agencies to use to gather information from individuals.”
“The speed reader also can collect information for law enforceemnts, such a telephone number, and other unique identifiers, which allows them to identify individuals and content,” the letter said.
It added that the company uses “unique identifier” information to collect data from the device, such the “identifier” that the device stores in the device and the device’s IP address.
“As you may know, a device’s “IP address” is the unique identifier for the device,” the FCC letter said, and it can be different from a device identifier or the device identifier itself.
“When a user visits a website, such websites may collect data about the user from the IP address that the user is accessing.
The letter noted that ISPs are required to maintain a database of IP addresses. “
The device’s unique identifier is then used to uniquely identify the device user on the website.
The letter noted that ISPs are required to maintain a database of IP addresses.
It noted that the Internet Speed Reader has been used in several cases to collect IP addresses without consent from people using the service.”
Internet service providers such as AT&T and Comcast have defended their practices by saying the data collection is necessary to track down criminals and terrorists and prevent other abuses.”
We call on the Internet speed reader provider to update its privacy policies to protect consumers from such data collection.”
Internet service providers such as AT&T and Comcast have defended their practices by saying the data collection is necessary to track down criminals and terrorists and prevent other abuses.