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Privacy & Data

Broadband Privacy Comments in Response to the Commissionʼs Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) respectfully submits these comments in response to the Commissionʼs Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding proposed rules to protect the privacy of customers of broadband and other telecommunications services. CDT is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation, and freedom online– a mission that closely tracks the Commissionʼs goals for this proceeding.

CDT commends the Commission’s efforts to protect consumer privacy through adapting Title II’s consumer protection provisions to broadband internet access service (BIAS). In light of the vast amounts of personal information passing through BIAS providers’ networks, the Commission’s decision to update, rather than to forbear from, those provisions was correct. This gives BIAS customers a greater degree of control over information they have no choice but to disclose when they use the internet.

Although comprehensive baseline privacy protection is ideal, the Commission’s authority to regulate communications does not extend to providers at the edge of networks, nor does CDT believe that it should. Rather, CDT supports Congressional action to enact comprehensive baseline privacy law so that internet users gain more awareness and control over the information flowing from their actions online, regardless of where that information originates and who collects it. While the Commission’s enforcement of Title II cannot provide this comprehensive protection, its efforts to protect BIAS customers’ data provides a fundamental element of the U.S. privacy framework.