Skip to Content

Privacy & Data

FCC Moves Forward With Plan to Protect Broadband Customers’ Privacy

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) convened an open meeting at which it adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on broadband privacy regulations. The Commission’s action is a significant step toward enhancing the privacy protections of broadband customers. Although the text of the NPRM is not yet public, the previously released fact sheet and the description of the item at today’s open meeting suggest that the NPRM will draw from key concepts in existing rules for telecommunications carriers and provide customers with choice.

“Internet service providers have large amounts of detailed and sensitive data about their customers, which makes consumer choice and control essential in broadband. The Commission’s proposal recognizes that broadband providers must respect their subscribers’ reasonable expectations of privacy and choice while using their services,” says Katharina Kopp, CDT Director of Privacy and Data.

Specific components of the proposed rules include the requirement that broadband customers be able to opt out of the use and disclosure of personal information to market “communications-related services”, and that customer opt-in would be required for use or sharing for purposes that are unrelated to the service the customer has purchased.

CDT will engage in the rulemaking process and anticipates a robust and thorough evaluation of the proposed rule.

“We’re hopeful that the final rule will offer sensible privacy protections that are not overly prescriptive and allow for flexibility. The end goal is a set of rules that offer effective privacy protections for broadband consumers,” Kopp added.