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Republicans Laud FTC for ISP Oversight

House Republicans promoted a number of Federal Trade Commission actions to demonstrate why, in their view, the FTC is well equipped to enforce ISP conduct if it is deceptive, unfair or anticompetitive. The suggestions come even though no federal appeals court has clarified the agency’s broadband enforcement authority. A fifth action, also listed below, refers to an FTC decision that came out after the list was compiled.

• “In 2011, Facebook settled charges with the FTC that it deceived consumers by failing to keep privacy promises. The settlement required Facebook to give consumers clear and prominent notice of changes to privacy settings, and ensure it gets consent before it changes the way it shares their data.”

• “In 2012, the FTC fined Google $22.5 million after it violated a previous consent order promising not to place tracking cookies or targeted ads on users of Apple’s Safari web browser.”

• “In 2014, T-Mobile agreed to pay $90 million, including $67.5 million for customer refunds, to settle the FTC case that it had included hidden charges in customers’ wireless bills.”

• “In 2015, TracFone agreed to pay $40 million to the FTC to settle charges that it throttled ‘unlimited’ data plans without telling consumers. Affected consumers were then eligible for a refund.”

• The FTC settled a complaint with PayPal on Feb. 27 that included charges its Venmo payment service misled consumers about the privacy of their online transactions and did not sufficiently secure customer data.

SOURCES: 1-4, House Energy & Commerce Committee majority staffers; 5. FTC

John Eggerton
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.