NetCompetition Statement on FCC Broadband Privacy Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 27, 2016, Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

The FCC’s Broadband Privacy Rules Confuse Consumers with Partial, Inconsistent and Misleading Privacy Protection Because Their Personal Data Remains Unprotected from Every Entity but ISPs, and the FCC’s Privacy Rules Are Effectively at War with the FTC’s Consumer Protection Mission  

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

“In asserting partial regulatory authority over communications by reclassifying just ISPs as common carriers, the FCC willfully blocked the FTC from continuing to protect ISP consumers like they protect all consumers in every other industry.

Ironically and sadly, the FCC’s privacy rules disserve consumers because they are effectively are at war with the FTC’s consumer protection mission, which is:

  • “To prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”

In stark contrast, the FCC’s broadband privacy rules are:

  • Anticompetitive because they pick marketplace winners and losers by treating similar entities dissimilarly;
  • Deceptive to consumers because they leave the impression that they can protect their personal data, when the FCC does not protect that same personal data from use by >99% of companies;
  • Unfair to consumers, because they unnecessarily confuse them with balkanized and conflicting government privacy protection;
  • Silent that they have the result of purposefully skewing the competitive process/market for online advertising; and
  • Burdening ISP’s pursuit of the legitimate business activity of offering online advertising.

The FCC and FTC could better serve American consumers by working with Congress and the Administration to pass comprehensive, consumer-centric, and technology-neutral privacy legislation for the 21st Century.

American consumers deserve much better than this.” is a pro-competition e-forum representing broadband interests.  See Scott Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration.