Recently, Public Knowledge submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on protecting the privacy of broadband customers. The NPRM seeks to examine privacy rules governing the use of personal consumer data by broadband internet access service providers.
If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the FCC’s recent privacy rulemaking, you’ve probably heard its opponents claim that any regulation (no matter how minor, apparently) will create “distortions in the market” that would put broadband internet service providers (or BIASes) at a disadvantage. What market is that, you ask? Yeah, we’re not sure either.
Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he is circulating a proposal to protect consumers’ data from unauthorized uses by Internet Service Providers. The proposal will be be considered by the Commission during its March 31st meeting. Chairman Wheeler also released a fact sheet outlining the basics of his proposal, and the need for strong consumer protection.
Recently, investigative journalists at the Intercept revealed that Securus, a nationwide provider of phone and video services to jails and prisons, suffered a massive security breach when someone obtained, and then leaked, records of more than 70 million phone calls by prisoners across the country, along with links to downloadable recordings of those calls. Among these calls were records of “at least 14,000 recorded conversations between inmates and attorneys.” In fact, the Intercept claims that Securus has amassed a huge database of federally protected consumer propriety network information (CPNI, or “metadata” containing the number you call, at what time and for how long) and has been storing this data for years. The Intercept also reports that Securus may be selling access to this data to law enforcement investigators.