FCC pressed to start drafting Internet privacy rules

Coverage Type: 

More than 50 digital rights and consumer groups are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to start drafting Internet privacy rules “as quickly as possible.” The groups sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler arguing that increased monitoring by companies that provide Internet service can “have a chilling effect on speech and increase the potential for discriminatory practices.” “Their position as Internet gatekeepers gives them a comprehensive view of consumer behavior and until now privacy protections for consumers using those services have been unclear,” the groups wrote. The letter was signed by groups like The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Digital Democracy, Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Consumer Watchdog and many others.

When Internet service was reclassified in 2015 as a telecommunications service, the FCC took on oversight of how Comcast, Verizon and other Internet service providers handle privacy. But the agency has not begun drafting privacy rules. Chairman Wheeler had set a fall deadline to begin the privacy rules, but that slipped into 2016. In November, he said the rule-making process could get started in the next several months. In their letter, the digital rights and consumer groups urged the commission to adopt rules to protect consumers from having their personal data shared or collected by Internet service providers without their explicit consent. They also want those companies to clearly disclose their data collection. In addition, they said the privacy rules should require companies to disclose data breaches and hold them accountable for a failure to protect against an attack.

The letter was signed by:

  • Access
  • Access Humboldt
  • Access Sonoma Broadband
  • American Association of Law Libraries
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Appalshop, Inc.
  • Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center
  • Benton Foundation
  • Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County
  • California Center for Rural Policy
  • Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood
  • Caney Fork Headwaters Association
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Center for Digital Democracy
  • Center for Rural Strategies
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Chicago Consumer Coalition
  • Children Now
  • Common Sense Kids Action
  • Consumer Action
  • Consumer Assistance Council of Cape Cod and the Islands of Massachusetts
  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Consumer Federation of California
  • Consumer Watchdog
  • Cornucopia Network NJ/TN Chapter
  • Cumberland Countians for Ecojustice
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Free Press
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Kentucky Equal Justice Center
  • Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition
  • Massachusetts Consumer Council
  • Maui County Community Television
  • Mountain Area Information Network
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients)
  • National Consumers League
  • National Digital Inclusion Alliance
  • National Hispanic Media Coalition
  • Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ
  • North Carolina Consumers Council
  • Oklahoma Policy Institute
  • Open Library
  • Open Technology Institute at New America
  • Oregon Consumer League
  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
  • Privacy Times
  • Public Citizen
  • Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law
  • Public Knowledge
  • Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, University of Connecticut
  • Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB Coalition)
  • Southern California Tribal Digital Village
  • Texas Legal Services Center
  • U.S. PIRG
  • United Church of Christ, OC Inc.
  • World Privacy Forum
  • X-Lab

FCC pressed to start drafting Internet privacy rules Letter to Chairman Wheeler Regarding Broadband Privacy Rulemaking (Letter to Chairman Wheeler) Broadband CPNI Could Be New Privacy Battleground (Broadcasting & Cable) Internet providers want to know more about you than Google does, privacy groups say (Washington Post) Public Knowledge Joins Nearly 60 Consumer Groups Urging FCC to Protect Privacy (PK Press release)