CTIA, CCA and others urge FCC to go easy on rules addressing customer privacy

CTIA, the Competitive Carriers Association, US Telecom and four other tech-industry consortiums asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to sculpt the agency's upcoming privacy rules similarly to guidelines developed by the FTC.

The trade groups said that while the FCC may be granted the authority to regulate broadband privacy, any new rules should "be consistent with the successful FTC approach, which is grounded on prohibiting unfairness and deception." Those existing guidelines provide "meaningful privacy protection" for consumers, the groups lobbied, while enabling "a dynamic marketplace that supports the emergence of innovative new business models."

"To achieve parity across the Internet ecosystem, any FCC framework for Internet service providers should be reflective of the deception and unfairness standard, consistent with the existing protections receive when they engage with other companies in the Internet ecosystem," the consortium said in a letter to Wheeler. "A consistent privacy framework for the Internet also will continue to provide Internet service providers with the flexibility to update their practices in ways that meet the evolving privacy and data security needs of their customers and ensure they can provide their customers new products and customized services."

The FCC expanded its oversight of Internet providers when it adopted net neutrality laws a year ago, enabling the agency to classify ISPs as telecoms. While those laws are still being reviewed in the courts, ISPs are now subject to privacy requirements under the federal Communications Act.

At the heart of the group's concerns is a section of the Communications Act that governs Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) such as the time, date, duration and destination of phone calls. Such data is extremely valuable to carriers and other marketers who can use it to deliver highly targeted advertising.

For more:
- see this letter

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