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Setting the Record Straight: What the Congressional Review Act Means for the FCC’s Broadband Privacy

March 16, 2017 Broadband Privacy , Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy

One significant threat to the public interest under the new administration that is receiving increased attention is broadband privacy for consumers. Last week, Senator Jeff Flake and 21 cosponsors introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules. In late October, after over six months of deliberation, the FCC passed rules governing how Internet Service Providers use the personal information that they collect on their customers. Put simply, ISPs would be required to obtain opt-in consent before using anything sensitive like web browsing history, your location, financial information, and information relating to children.

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FCC Privacy Rules Must Protect Where We Go and What We Do Online

October 11, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released a fact sheet summarizing proposed final rules that would significantly upgrade consumer broadband privacy protections. The final proposal varies from the framework set forth in the original proposal in one important respect. The FCC initially proposed requiring Internet Service Providers to obtain opt-out consent for first party use of customer information and opt-in consent for third party use of customer information. Instead, responding to industry lobbying, the FCC will adopt the framework originally developed by the Federal Trade Commission that requires opt-in consent for “sensitive” information, but requires subscribers to affirmatively opt out from the ISP using information designated “non-sensitive.”

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Understanding the Ninth Circuit’s Decision in AT&T Mobility v. FTC

August 31, 2016 FCC , FTC , Litigation , Title II

The Ninth Circuit issued a fairly important decision limiting the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Unfortunately, articles such as this from CNET, combined with some overwrought commentary, have generated a lot of confusion.

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Cable Company Practices Indicate a Need for Increased Enforcement of Consumer Privacy Laws

June 8, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy , Video Marketplace

In March of this year, the Center for Digital Democracy released a comprehensive report outlining the increasing use of subscriber data by Internet Service Providers and video providers. The report details the common practices of cable operators gathering their customers’ personal information, sharing and combining that information with third parties, and using it to target customers for advertising on an individual level.

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Securus Leak of Prison Call Records Underscores Importance of FCC Oversight

December 8, 2015 CPNI , FCC , FTC , Prison Phones , security

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.

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