CAGW Submits Comments to FCC Opposing Broad, New Regulatory Regime

For Immediate Release Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318
May 31, 2016  

(Washington, D.C.) – On May 26, 2016, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz submitted public comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the March 31, 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services. 

The comments stated in part, “When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the Open Internet Order on February 26, 2015 and reclassified Internet service providers (ISPs) as Title II common carriers, the agency disrupted the comprehensive privacy protection framework at the federal level for Internet users, including ISP customers.   Previously, such privacy was protected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices in the marketplace.  

“The regulation of online privacy and data security are extremely complex and technical issues requiring careful thought and consideration.  Unfortunately, the NPRM is exceptionally broad and raises hundreds of questions, making it difficult for stakeholders to provide adequate responses in the short time period allotted for comments and reply comments.

“The NPRM seeks to impose a highly prescriptive privacy regime on ISPs, including requiring them to obtain opt-in consent from consumers for the use of a broad range of data for marketing purposes and other typical online practices for which consent is normally assumed.   Compliance with the proposed customer consent requirements, which could increase both overhead costs of provisioning broadband and customer costs, is an onerous and unnecessary burden on broadband providers.  These restrictive rules would prevent ISPs from having the flexibility to adapt to changing technologies and adversely impact innovation and development of new business models and services for the benefit of consumers on the Internet.  These same standards would not apply to other entities doing business over the Internet, which are subject to the FTC’s privacy jurisdiction under the unfair and deceptive practices umbrella.  The FCC should endorse a technology neutral, level playing field approach to privacy that ensures consistency for the commercial use of consumer data.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.


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