For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

In Letter to FCC, Free Press Rebuts Industry Efforts to Weaken Privacy Protections

WASHINGTON - On Monday, Free Press filed a letter with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler arguing in favor of the agency’s role to protect Internet users against privacy abuses by broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.  

Last week, the agency took steps to protect user privacy when Wheeler circulated a proposal to his fellow commissioners to open a proceeding during the agency’s March 31 meeting. The FCC’s action follows its 2015 decision to classify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. That law also requires the FCC to craft strong privacy protections for users of telecommunications services, protecting consumers from carriers’ ability to access and misuse customers’ private information.

Broadband providers have recently pushed for weakened protections that would allow them to expand their use of customers’ personal data.

Internet users want and need updated safeguards to protect their private information from unauthorized disclosure and abuse, the Free Press letter argues, offering a point-by-point rebuttal of industry efforts to spread confusion and misinformation about the agency’s obligations under Section 222 of the Communications Act.

The Free Press letter is available here.  

Free Press Policy Counsel Gaurav Laroia made the following statement:

“ISPs have been pushing for weak rules that would allow them to violate their customers’ privacy and sell their private data to the highest bidder. In their letters to the FCC, ISPs have argued the Commission should ignore the congressional mandate to protect users’ privacy.

“The law is clear: The FCC must pursue strong rules, as obligated by Section 222 of the Communications Act. Congress created a privacy template for telecom users grounded in customer choice and control over their private information. As the FCC deliberates, it should respect the rule of law and prohibit ISPs from exploiting and misusing their customers’ private information.”


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