Published: September 2016

FCC’s proposed privacy rules provide important consumer protections

Broadband internet providers have access to massive amounts of browsing data, which can reveal sensitive personal information regarding the user’s lifestyle, health and and finances. Given the limited choice of internet providers, consumers looking to compare privacy standards are at a disadvantage. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering rules that would fill a critical gap in the patchwork of U.S. privacy laws by giving consumers meaningful control over the ways in which their data can be used and disclosed by broadband internet service providers. The FCC’s proposed rules would require customers to opt-in to most uses of their data that are not directly related to the services to which they have subscribed. These proposed regulations would be a big step in protecting consumers’ online privacy and should not be weakened by industry groups looking to make a profit at the expense of their customers.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a strong set of broadband internet privacy rules that will allow for innovation while giving consumers necessary and meaningful choice as to how their online browsing information is used. However, coalition advocates warn that two issues in particular threaten to weaken these rules: (1) a lack of clarity around de-identification requirements and (2) calls from industry groups to limit protections to “sensitive” data. This common-sense proposal for protecting broadband customers’ privacy and freedom of choice should not be watered down with exceptions that would swallow the rules.

Lead Organization

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD)

Other Organizations

Access Humboldt | Access Now | Access Sonoma Broadband | American Civil Liberties Union | Appalshop, Inc. | Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center | Benton Foundation13 | California Center for Rural Policy | Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood | Center for Digital Democracy | Center for Media Justice | Chicago Consumer Coalition | Color Of Change | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumer Federation of California | Consumer Watchdog | Demand Progress | Electronic Frontier Foundation | EPIC | Free Press | Greenlining Institute | Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition | Massachusetts Consumer Council | National Association of Consumer Advocates | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients) | National Consumers League | National Digital Inclusion Alliance | Native Public Media | Open Technology Institute at New America | Privacy Rights Clearinghouse | Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law | Public Knowledge | Southern California Tribal Digital Village | TURN | U.S. PIRG | Virginia Citizens Consumer Council | World Privacy Forum | X-Lab

More Information

For more information, visit CDD's website.

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FCC’s proposed privacy rules provide important consumer protections   (BroadbandPrivacyCoalition.pdf)




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