AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is fond of saying that "data is oil of the mobile economy." All for data, Verizon is shelling out over $9 billion to acquire and combine AOL and Yahoo.
But where Verizon sees an opportunity, some lawmakers see a privacy threat. "I have some concerns about what a Verizon-Yahoo deal would mean for the collection, use, and sharing of some of their customers' most sensitive digital information," Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, tells Politico.
Indeed, a showdown is brewing between privacy advocates and Internet service providers like the telecom giant. Both are in discussions with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the rules that govern the data generated by Americans using connected devices; Verizon argues that Internet providers and web service providers, like Google, should be subject to the same oversight requirements.
The FCC's plans remain unclear, but factions on both side of the debate agree that the commission needs to act. The lines between advertising, cable, telecom, and web-based content businesses are disappearing fast, and consumer advocates and industry lobbyists alike are agitating for a new regulatory framework.