PH Privacy

FCC Seeks Comments on New Privacy Rules for Broadband ISPs

April 01, 2016

Sherrese Smith, Matthew Gibson, and Michael London

Yesterday, in a 3-2 party-line vote, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”)  adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposing new rules to regulate how broadband Internet service providers (“ISPs”) collect, use, and protect personal information about their customers. The NPRM seeks comment on a broad range of issues and, as Commissioner Rosenworcel noted in her statement prior to the vote, the item poses more than 500 questions for stakeholders to consider as they prepare comments in this proceeding.
While the NPRM is expected generally to hew to the framework outlined in the Fact Sheet that Chairman Wheeler released several weeks ago (a summary of which can be found here), both the staff summary and the Commissioners’ individual statements previewed a few new issues and proposals that may be of interest to stakeholders.  By way of example, the staff summary of the NPRM noted that the item seeks comment on whether the FCC should adopt heightened notice requirements on ISPs that conduct deep packet inspection, provide financial inducements related to privacy issues, or employ tracking technologies.

As always, the devil will be in the details, and the NPRM will likely seek comment on other novel issues and proposals that will be of interest to stakeholders of every stripe.  We will provide a more detailed analysis once the full text of the NPRM has been released.

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