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FCC Looks to Provide Privacy Reporting Reminder

According to an FCC source speaking on background, an item FCC chairman Ajit Pai has circulated for a vote on "Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services" essentially clarifies that the telecom CPNI (customer proprietary network information) privacy rules that were in effect before the Wheeler FCC adopted a new broadband privacy regime are still in effect after that regime was nullified by Congress.

It is a way to remind carriers that they are still responsible for submitting an annual certification of compliance with those CPNI privacy rules.

The item was described as administrative in nature and focused on voice privacy, rather than providing any new guidance on broadband privacy, according to the source.

In addition, the item dismisses petitions to reconsider the Wheeler-era rules, since they were mooted by the Congressional Review Act resolution.

Pai has proposed reclassifying ISPs as information service providers, rather than telecoms, after which the Federal Trade Commission would reclaim its authority over broadband privacy, which it lost when ISPs were classified as common carriers in the 2015 Order. The FTC is prevented from enforcing regs on common carriers.

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.