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Walden Whacks FCC’s Privacy Proposal

WASHINGTON — One top House Republican last week was not keeping his thoughts private about the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadband privacy (customer proprietary network information, or CPNI) proposal.

Cable Internet-service providers, which have been pushing back hard on the FCC’s proposed broadband privacy regulations, got some help from House Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

In an oversight hearing on the proposal, Walden called it a “premeditated effort to supersede the Federal Trade Commission’s successful, enforcement-based approach to consumer privacy,” adding: “A robust record of comments warns of higher costs, stifled innovation, and fewer service offerings.”

The FCC is proposing new regulations, although ISPs want it to instead enforce violations of voluntary privacy policies, as the FTC was doing before the FCC deeded itself that authority via its reclassification of ISPs as common-carrier services under Title II.

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.