FCC Move to Stay Broadband Rules Threatens Internet Users’ Privacy

Written by Natasha Duarte

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today that he will block critical privacy and data security protections from taking effect on March 2. Chairman Pai intends to stay at least part of the FCC’s broadband privacy rule, which gives internet users the ability to control how ISPs use and share their personal information, and requires ISPs to take reasonable measures to protect the security of customer data. The broadband privacy rule is the only protection for internet users’ sensitive information — including browsing history and location information — in the hands of ISPs. Staying the rules will expose internet users to increased risks that their private information will be shared without their consent, or breached without their knowledge. CDT expressed these concerns to the FCC when we formally opposed a stay of the rules. We will continue to fight for internet users’ rights to know and control how companies use and share their information.

We will continue to fight for internet users’ rights to know and control how companies use and share their information.

While we oppose this stay, Congress should take the action by the new Chairman as a sign that the FCC is the right authority for reviewing these rules. Congress should avoid intervening and allow the FCC to carefully consider all stakeholders’ comments. Threats by some members of Congress to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to permanently slash the rules are dangerous and unnecessary. A CRA measure would prevent the Commission from extending any “substantially similar” privacy protections to internet users in the future. It would also prematurely end the Commission’s efforts to hear from all stakeholders in the proceeding and come to a carefully considered solution.

Call your representatives today and say no to CRA. Tell them broadband customers deserve a say in what happens to their personal information. Our friends at Free Press have created this easy-to-use tool to help you contact your representatives in Congress.

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