Sen. Bernie Sanders Pushes Broadband Privacy Proposal

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has joined with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and four other Democratic senators to call on the FCC to finalize its broadband privacy proposal.

The rules were prompted by the FCC's assumption of broadband privacy regulatory authority from the Federal Trade Commission when it reclassified ISPs as common carriers under Title II, a move strongly endorsed by Sen. Markey.

“An ISP has a duty to protect the privacy of consumers who use the company’s wired and wireless infrastructure to connect to the world,” the senators wrote in a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “We strongly support the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and believe that this framework will strengthen the privacy protections for consumers’ personal information.”

The FCC's comment deadline on the item was July 7, but it continues to accept input, and the senators had plenty.

They told the FCC it needed to:

1. "Adopt a comprehensive definition of customer proprietary information.

2. "Apply protections to both current and former ISP customers.

3. "Promote transparency by requiring ISPs to disclose what information is being collected and how it is used.

4. "Require ISPs to obtain consent before using or sharing consumers’ proprietary information.

5. "Establish data security protections and breach notification requirements.

6. "Mandate that the FCC and ISPs create clear complaint processes if consumers believe their privacy has been violated."

Also signing on to the letter were Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

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.