ACA to Senate: FCC Privacy Regime Is Overly Burdensome

Related: Sen. Stabenow: FCC Should Study Set-Top Impact on Small MVPDs

American Cable Association president Matt Polka boiled down ACA's response to the FCC's broadband privacy proposal into four groups, which he planned to serve up to Senate Commerce Committee members at a hearing Tuesday according to a copy of his prepared testimony.

Polka says 1) his members are already subject to privacy and data security obligations—cable and voice among them—and have an "excellent track record; 2) the FCC already has a regulatory model in the Federal Trade Commission approach to privacy that has its own proven track record; 3) the FCC's new rules would be needlessly burdensome on the smaller operators he represents; and 4) given that, the FCC should provide tailored exemptions, extended compliance deadlines, and streamlined rules for those operators if it proceeds on its present course.

"While a suite of extensions, exemptions, and rationalized rules would not be as effective as adopting rules consistent with the FTC framework," says Polka, "it would address the concerns of smaller providers and many others in the record..."

"ACA members have a strong record of protecting consumer data and complying with myriad state and federal privacy and data security laws," Polka says. "Based on this experience, we urge the Commission to adopt the time-tested privacy framework employed by the FTC."

The FCC took over broadband privacy regulation from the FTC when it reclassified ISPs under Title II common carrier regs. The FTC, which has more limited rulemaking authority, enforced broadband privacy as it still does edge-provider privacy, by enforcing violations of voluntary policies as false and deceptive practices.

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.