The broadband privacy rules adopted as one of the final acts of the Wheeler FCC threaten to dangerously interfere with the ability of global consumers to enjoy the content they love. The FCC should stay these costly and ill-informed rules while they are reconsidered and reviewed.
The Wheeler broadband privacy rules break with longstanding bipartisan policy in support of technology-neutral and consistent regulation to protect consumer online privacy – policies championed by the White House and the FTC in the last Administration and numerous experts.
They depart from the successful FTC framework that has seen the internet thrive and grow, confounding consumer expectations by illogically treating certain mundane online data such as sports scores and the weather the same as sensitive data such as health, financial, and child-related information, and even social security numbers. This will only erode trust in the internet.
The FCC is wisely re-evaluating these costly and destructive rules in response to 11 different petitions for reconsideration.
During this review, the FCC should stay operation of these burdensome rules. Consumers should not be forced to scramble to understand and adjust to this new patchwork. Businesses should not be forced to retool and reorganize their operations interfaces to comply with rules that are being re-evaluated and reviewed. And the $200 billion data driven market economy – which fuels nearly a million jobs a year – should not be put at risk.
Staying the rules preserves the long-standing pro-consumer privacy framework, with interlocking layers of protection including state and federal privacy and data security laws and industry self-regulation policies and practices that have seen the internet thrive and earn the trust of its users over many years. These longstanding and vital protections ensure consumer privacy will be protected at all times online, including during a stay. Indeed, virtually all the leading US internet providers recently released adopted a detailed and comprehensive set of principles reiterating their commitment to protecting consumer privacy online
Consumer privacy will continue to be protected, and the FCC will have the breathing room it needs to resolve the pending petitions for reconsideration in order to protect consumers and the internet economy for the long haul.