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Photo: Sean Proctor for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission has issued orders to 7 U.S. broadband providers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast and Google Fiber, demanding they hand over information about their privacy practices and how they monetize consumer data — including those practices the companies have chosen to keep under wraps.

Details: The FTC wants to know what kind of personal information these companies are collecting from users and how they're using that data, including whether they are sharing it with third parties. The FTC has requested the companies also share whether consumers have a choice in the collection and use of their data and whether users who opt-out of collection are punished.

  • The FTC also wants to know to what extent the data collected is anonymized and protected from internal access.

Reality check: It remains to be seen whether the FTC will be able to take action based on these findings, such as issuing guidelines or best privacy practice recommendations for telecommunication companies. The companies can try to sidestep the request, as with a subpoena, but the FTC can file suit to obtain the information regardless, per Bloomberg.

Between the lines: Last week, FTC chairman Joe Simons indicated the FTC planned to demand companies hand over details about their privacy practices, but it wasn’t clear at the time which ones he would be targeting, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper

Updated 17 mins ago - Health

COVID cases and deaths keep falling

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

America’s coronavirus outbreak is rapidly improving as the Delta wave recedes, and vaccines for kids — which could become available within weeks — will help the situation improve even further.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is now averaging about 79,000 new cases per day — a 22% drop over the past two weeks.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 18 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the pandemic caused a corporate rebound

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork becomes a public company today worth more than $9 billion — a vindication of the expensive turnaround strategy employed after it spectacularly imploded in 2019. Like many companies that find themselves at death's door, that which didn't kill them made them stronger.

Why it matters: Hertz, Alamo Drafthouse, Airbnb, and Toast are among the currently-thriving companies that were shaken to the core in the early days of the pandemic — providing further evidence for the theory that, in the words of former Fast Company editor Bill Taylor, "companies can't be great unless they've almost failed."

1 hour ago - Technology

Facebook is a news media magnet

Expand chart
Data: Signal AI; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

New data finds that Facebook has been mentioned in more online stories in the U.S. in the past year than all of its major tech competitors combined.

Why it matters: Press scrutiny of Facebook has become so intense and negative that the tech giant is reportedly planning to rename itself as soon as next week to signal that it's more than just a social media company.