via DSL Reports
by Karl Bode
March 09, 2017
The GOP is fast-tracking a new bill that would kill off privacy protections for broadband customers, making it easier than ever for ISPs to collect and sell your private data. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced a resolution (pdf) yesterday that would use the Congressional Review Act to kill off the FCC privacy protections created under Wheeler last October.
The FCC’s fairly basic rules simply required that ISPs are clear about what data they collect and who they sell it to, and provide working opt out tools. In some instances, it required that consumers opt in if ISPs want to share more personal financial or browsing data.
ISPs, many of which want to get into content and advertising as broadband growth slows, have whined ceaselessly about the rules since last fall.
Last week, FCC boss Ajit Pai managed to kill off a portion of the FCC’s new privacy rules requiring that ISPs securely store your data and notify you if hackers successfully obtain your personal data. Now Congress appears ready to finish the job.
And if Flake’s bill doesn’t work, municipal broadband opponent, top AT&T campaign contribution recipient and Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn says she’s preparing backup legislation to accomplish the same end goal: less oversight of large telecom operators.
While the industry claim is this “reform” will bring greater “efficiency” to regulation, former FCC boss Tom Wheeler recently stated in an interview that the industry’s push to have all broadband privacy overseen by the FTC is actually a ploy to ensure less company oversight, since the FTC is already over-worked, under-funded, can’t craft new rules, and is over-extended from having to already manage countless other industries.
This was the strategy all along
“It’s a fraud,” Wheeler recently said. “The FTC doesn’t have rule-making authority. They’ve got enforcement authority and their enforcement authority is whether or not something is unfair or deceptive. And the FTC has to worry about everything from computer chips to bleach labeling. Of course, carriers want [telecom issues] to get lost in that morass. This was the strategy all along.”