FCC privacy rules could block Sprint's Pivot

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, new FCC privacy rules prevent cable MSOs like Comcast, Time Warner and Cox from sharing customer data with their VoIP and wireless partner Sprint Nextel for their recently named Pivot joint venture. The new FCC rules will requires the cable companies to ask their subscribers' permission to share their personal information with Sprint--probably though an opt-in. Lawyers familiar with the case say the companies are likely to launch a legal challenge to the rules. Comcast confirmed that the rules appear to affect its ability to share customer information with Sprint, but would not comment further.

On Monday the FCC released the new rules, which are primarily aimed at preventing pretexting, but include a provision that prohibits telecom companies from sharing customer information with joint venture partners or independent contractors without first getting their customers' permission. Since rates for customers agreeing to opt-in are traditionally very low, this could prove disastrous to the Pivot venture.

For more on the privacy rules:
- see this article from the WSJ (sub. req.)