Cable ISPs Draw Support for Reconsidering Privacy Rules

Groups say FCC can still protect privacy without overly restrictive regime
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Cable ISPs and others challenging the FCC's broadband privacy rules--adopted on a party line vote in the waning days of the Tom Wheeler-led FCC--got support from various quarters Monday (March 6) as groups weighing in on their petitions for reconsideration.

"It is important that broadband consumers have choice and control over how their data is used, but the overly restrictive defaults imposed by the recent FCC rules come at a real cost to the economy that were not recognized in the commission’s report and order," said the Information Technology & Information Foundation said in its comments, "thankfully, the Commission now has an opportunity to revisit these flawed rules."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last week stayed implementation of the broadband privacy framework's data security rules and signaled he would be reviewing the rest--which don't go into effect until December--in an effort to better harmonize them with the Federal Trade Commission approach.

While the FCC approach requires ISPs to get their subs permission to share most information with third parties, the FTC has no such regime for the privacy protections for the data collected and shared by edge providers like Google and Facebook.

"The notion that consumers will be left unprotected if the FCC’s harmonizes its approach with the FTC’s privacy framework is absurd," said Tech Knowledge in supporting the petitions. "The FCC’s failure to consider arguments regarding the impact of its rules on competition among ISPs and edge providers in the online advertising and big data markets constitutes arbitrary agency action as a matter of law."

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