gavelIn a decision late last week made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the use of consumer data by Net providers might be just the first step toward a total reinvention of how digital ads are targeted in the U.S.

The FCC approved last Thursday a policy that will require Net providers like Comcast to obtain opt-in consent from their customers before they can use a customer’s behavioral data, or share it with third parties like ad platforms.

Consumers will have to opt-in to allow things like their browsing or app history to be shared, as well as their health or financial info, search data, content of their emails, SMS messaging, or Social Security numbers.  Excluded from this category of sensitive data are device identifiers and IP addresses.

This won’t apply to the data that’s collected by websites or social networking platforms, such as Facebook, which fall under the supervision of the Federal Trad Commission.

Approving of this move are the consumer groups like The Center for Democracy and Technology.  But the ad industry thinks otherwise, which is not all that surprising.

“It’s like going back to the Stone Age in terms of advertising in a non-targeted way to a mass audience you know nothing about,” ad agency DDB executive vice president and director of digital Azher Ahmed told Digiday.