The FCC's 2-1 vote to stay the implementation of the agency's new data security rules continues to draw reaction from the cable community, including Charter Communications and the American Cable Association. So going forward, we will work together to establish a technology-neutral privacy framework for the online world. While these web companies have their own privacy policies, and are bound by a patchwork of state laws that mandate data breach notification, no comprehensive federal law exists that provides a national baseline for their privacy and data security practices.
"As ITTA said when the previous FCC issued unduly expansive, new consumer privacy rules four months ago, these sector-specific regulations disproportionally disadvantage ISPs vis-à-vis edge providers".
According to CNET, Pai and Maureen Ohlhausen, the USA consumer protection agency's acting chairwoman, said that the FTC, and not the FCC, should regulate all privacy and data security practices online. Many broadband industry trade groups have been critical of the regulation, and argued that it would subject internet service providers (ISPs) to a different standard than that applied to other companies in the internet ecosystem by the Federal Trade Commission.
Proponents of the privacy rules see this move as a blow to consumer protections, and the first step in dismantling desperately needed privacy safeguards as Americans face a barrage of data breaches. "From the outset of this proceeding, we stressed the importance of creating a consistent approach to privacy and data security that gives consumers the same information and choices about the use of their data, regardless of the type of company they interact with online".
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The FCC in 2015 stripped the FTC of the authority to oversee broadband privacy, and the pair said they believe authority should be returned to the FTC. This rule is not consistent with the FTC's privacy framework. The stay on the data security provision will remain in place until the FCC can rule on the petitions for reconsideration. A September 2016 Pew Research Center report found that more than nine out of 10 adults (91%) agree or strongly agree consumers have lost control of their personal data and its use.
That ruling means the FTC can not actually regulate ISPs, despite the wish of FCC leadership to leave the other agency in charge of issuing privacy rules.
Other critics of Pai and Ohlhausen's plan point to the limited power of the FTC to create new privacy rules. "What it actually does is permit providers to shift the costs for corporate negligence onto private citizens", she wrote.
As part of a pilot project to improve the FCC's transparency, Pai released the text of all six items that will be considered at the March 23 meeting. In her dissenting statement, she described Pai's efforts as a clumsy and disingenuous ploy.