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ISP Trade Groups Praise Hill CPNI Hearing

On the eve of a House Communications Subcommittee hearing on the FCC's broadband privacy (CPNI) proposal, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association joined with a host of other ISP associations to push yet again for a light-touch approach more like the Federal Trade Commission enforcement regime than the FCC's proposed new regs.

That came in a letter to subcommittee chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).

They thanked the committee for the hearing, which was called by Republican leadership unhappy with the proposal, as are the ISPs.

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"In no way does the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband as a Title II service require a departure from the FTC’s successful approach to privacy based on effective notice to consumers and a meaningful choice as to how their data is used," they said.

The FCC assumed regulatory authority over broadband CPNI from the FTC when it reclassified ISPs as common carriers (Title II) in the Open Internet order.

The groups argued that "harmonizing" the FCC approach with the FTC approach--enforcing voluntary privacy policies rather than new regs that would require opt-in subscriber permission for third party uses of that customer information--would be consistent with the White House call for a "uniform privacy framework."

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Whatever the subcommittee concludes, it will be up to the FCC to approve or reject a final order. The FCC's Democratic majority has already voted to support the proposal.

Signatories on the letter, in addition to NCTA, included the American Cable Association, CTIA, USTelecom, and Mobile Future.

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.