CDD Welcomes FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Broadband Privacy Proposal

By: Jeff Chester | Oct 6 2016
Provides Key New Safeguards for ISP Customers’ Privacy

Washington, DC: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that he is circulating a broadband ISP privacy proposal to the other four FCC Commissioners detailing a plan that would provide individuals with key safeguards regarding their data. The proposal is designed to help implement the FCC “Open Internet” order to ensure that ISPs respect the privacy of communications over broadband and mobile networks.

The following can be attributed to Katharina Kopp, Deputy Director, Center for Digital Democracy:

  • We laud the timely development of a rule that would require ISP customer permission before much of their personal information may be used or shared. This proposal offers consumers the much needed safeguards and desired control over their own personal information. For the first time, ISPs would have to obtain customer consent for the use of web browsing and app usage history for advertising purposes.
  • Given the unique position of ISPs as gatekeepers to vast amounts of customer data, the FCC’s proposed broadband privacy rule is a critical step in preserving a free and open Internet into the 21st century.
  • Because we know that ISPs’ big data analytical capabilities can turn seemingly non-sensitive information into highly private information about our lives, and because all our browsing data and the content of our communications is incredibly sensitive to begin with, we had asked the FCC to avoid drawing distinctions between “sensitive” and “non-sensitive” categories of information. Still, we believe that the proposal’s framework can work for consumer privacy provided the FCC’s definition of “sensitive” is robust and meaningful. 
  • We will work to ensure this proposal is effectively implemented and that ISP broadband consumers receive the privacy protections they deserve.

The Center for Digital Democracy is a leading nonprofit organization focused on empowering and protecting the rights of the public in the digital era.


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