Online privacy may be boosted by new FCC data rules

New privacy rules may make it easier to escape at least some online tracking.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved rules that require internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to ask customers' permission to use or share much of their data.

That could potentially make it harder for them to build advertising businesses that could serve as competition to Google and Facebook. Those digital-ad behemoths are not covered by the new FCC rules.

Industry groups representing the cable, phone and advertising industries criticized the outcome of Thursday's vote. Several consumer-advocacy groups hailed it, while saying it should go...