ACA: FTC Is Way to Go on Broadband Privacy

The American Cable Association has added its voice to the chorus of ISPs taking aim at the FCC's broadband privacy framework.

In its reply comments to the commission, ACA said the proposal on privacy and security rules are unnecessary, exceed the FCC's authority, and would be a burden on all ISPs but a particular burden on smaller operators without an "offsetting" consumer benefit.

The FCC has come up with bright-line rules for handling broadband customer proprietary network information (CPNI), which differs from the Federal Trade Commission approach. The FTC had jurisdiction over broadband CPNI before the FCC reclassified ISPs as common carriers under Title II.

ACA joins with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in calling on the FCC to stick with the FTC approach, rather than apply rules to ISPs that don't apply to the web surfer data collection and monetization by edge providers like Google.

ACA pointed out to the FCC that support for an FTC-based model extends beyond smaller operators to FTC staff.

If the FCC does go ahead with its new rules, ACA says smaller operators should get relief from them.

That relief should include, says ACA:

"Exempt small providers from the specific 'minimum' data security requirements;

"Exempt small providers from the more onerous elements of its customer approval framework by grandfathering existing customer consents and exempting small providers from the requirement to obtain additional approval where they do not share sensitive personal information with third parties for marketing purposes;

"Exempt small providers from several elements of the Commission’s proposed data breach notification rule (as applied to both voice services and BIAS) by exempting small providers from the specific notification deadlines in favor of an 'as soon as reasonably practicable' standard; and

"Exempt small providers from any customer dashboard requirements that it adopts pursuant to its notice and choice."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.