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NCTA: Comments Confirm Privacy Rules Need Re-Do

NCTA: The Internet & Television Association says that comments at the FCC in support of its petition to reconsider broadband privacy rules confirm that reconsideration would benefit both consumers and the digital economy, while comments opposing their petition fail to make their case.

That came in NCTA's own reply comments to the FCC.

The cable trade group said that opposing commenters did not refute the material errors or omissions or policy flaws in the rules, did not show where the FCC got the authority to adopt the rules, and did not demonstrate any procedural basis for dismissing its petitions, or others seeking review of the rules--advertisers and other ISPs joined NCTA in the challenge.

Among the FCC conclusions underlying the broadband privacy rules that NCTA says were faulty was the unique gatekeeper role vis a vis edge providers--edge privacy is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, which unlike the FCC's privacy rules does not classify web browsing and app use sensitive information that require opt-in permission to collect and share--NCTA says the FCC's category of sensitive info that requires opt-in is too broad, "capturing data that does not identify individuals and dramatically expanding the scope of sensitive information."

NCTA also says the FCC relied on outdated data to conclude that encryption is not an effective check on ISP's visibility into data. NCTA also says the FCC failed to explain why it diverged from the FTC model and did not conduct a cost/benefit analysis on that divergence.

NCTA also said that reconsideration of the rules will not leave broadband consumers without privacy protections.

"Following reclassification of broadband, the FCC issued enforcement guidance under Section 222 of the Communications Act to deter bad faith and unreasonable privacy practices," NCTA said. "This guidance, which continues to apply, ensures that ISPs can be held accountable for bad faith or unreasonable practices until the effective date of finalized FCC privacy rules."