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The move is not an investigation but an early fact-finding exercise. 

The US Federal Trade Commission is seeking information from the advertising subsidiaries of numerous broadband providers about their privacy policies, procedures and practices. Operators including AT&T-owned AppNexus, Verizon Online and Verizon-owned Oath have received orders from the regulatory body seeking privacy-related information.

Earlier in March, the FTC had asked seven broadband providers to provide information about consumer data, but the latest order is aimed at their advertising arms. The FTC said that it wants details about the companies’ data collection and storage methods as well as internal policies regarding access to data and data-sharing, among others.

The FTC currently has authority over the privacy practices of common carriers like Verizon and AT&T. This piece says that though it is an early fact-finding exercise, it can still pose a risk for broadband providers’ bet on data-driven advertising.

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