The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday blocked some Obama administration rules approved past year that would have subjected broadband providers to stricter scrutiny than websites, a victory for internet providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc. The two agencies will work together to achieve "a technology-neutral privacy framework for the online world", they said. Accordingly, the FCC today stayed one of its rules before it could take effect on March 2.
Daniel Lyons, associate professor of law at Boston College Law School. The regulations would give consumers the right to decide how their information is shared and used by ISPs. 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. The rules were to come into effect on Thursday.
Pai has been in opposition to the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules since they were first passed, arguing the rules unfairly single out internet service providers for their data collection practices while failing to apply the same scrutiny to edge providers like Netflix and Amazon.
On Wednesday, Trump's new FCC chair blocked privacy rules created to protect customers of Comcast, Verizon, and other internet service providers from malicious hackers and 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". Pai has reversed several consumer-protection reports, proceedings and orders that were adopted in the final weeks of the Democratic-led FCC.
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Clyburn notes that while the recent Order alleges significant harm to service providers, there is no proof cited.
"The federal government shouldn't favor one set of companies over another-and certainly not when it comes to a marketplace as dynamic as the internet", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a joint statement on Wednesday with Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.
However, some in Congress aim to repeal the FCC's privacy rules in their entirety, while weakening the FTC's authority, said Chris Lewis, vice president of public interest group Public Knowledge. Despite the similarities, Clyburn noted a 2016 ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that decided the FTC no longer had the authority to regulate service providers when it came to privacy issues due to their reclassification as common carriers under the Open Internet Rules. No timeline was given for the rollout of the revamped privacy rules.