Urge transparency, consumer consent, data security requirements in upcoming final order

Washington (July 7, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today led a group of six Democratic Senators in sending a letter to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) urging it to finalize broadband privacy rules. Last year, the FCC reclassified broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act and adopted rules to protect the open internet. Last month the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this reclassification. As part of reclassification, the Commission chose to apply Section 222 of Title II to broadband, extending the duty to protect the privacy of information that internet service providers (ISP) collect about their customers by virtue of the carrier-customer relationship. In March, the FCC voted to advance a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend privacy rules to broadband.

“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,” write the Senators 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.”

A copy of the Senators’ letter to the FCC can be found HERE.

In the letter, the Senators urge the FCC to:

·      Adopt a comprehensive definition of customer proprietary information

·      Apply protections to both current and former ISP customers

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

·      Require ISPs to obtain consent before using or sharing consumers’ proprietary information

·      Establish data security protections and breach notification requirements

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


The letter was also signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.)