The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) this week hit back against defenders of the FCC’s recent Broadband Privacy Rules, noting the new rules leave its smaller carrier membership at a competitive disadvantage.
CCA was one of several industry groups, including CTIA, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, and the United States Telecom Association, to file a petition for reconsideration of the newly passed broadband privacy rules in January. They cited the new rules’ negative impact on competition and lopsidedness of disparate restrictions for different players in the same ecosystem (that is, internet companies under FTC jurisdiction verses ISPs governed by the FCC’s more restrictive rules).
Since then, however, advocacy groups including New America’s Open Technology Institute and the Center for Democracy & Technology have opposed the movement to take a second look at the rules. The latter groups argued no new arguments or facts have been raised for the Commission to consider and that rolling back the rules would “harm consumers and result in uncertainty for providers.”
But CCA on Thursday followed up with a response claiming there is “ample” support in the record for the FCC to reconsider its Privacy Order and reiterated the Commission should realign with the FTC’s existing regulations to level the playing field.
“Oppositions to the Petition wrongly argue that (broadband internet service) providers have ‘gateway’ access to personal consumer information and therefore should be treated differently. As Chairman Pai has noted, the reality is that this is the era of Big Data, and edge providers retain and monetize massive amounts of data, especially as compared to competitive carriers,” CCA CEO Steven Berry commented. “Competitive carriers should be focusing their resources on serving their customers and expanding and building their networks rather than complying with unnecessary obligations. Protecting their consumers’ privacy is at the core of competitive carriers’ customer service. That will continue to be the case with or without the FCC’s rules.”
CCA’s latest comments come amid a fierce debate about the merits of the FCC’s privacy rules. And the tide may be turning in carriers’ favor under new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Earlier this month, Pai’s FCC voted 2-1 to issue a temporary stay of the Privacy Order’s data security requirement. That stay is slated to remain in effect until the Commission acts on the aforementioned petitions for reconsideration.
Filed Under: Industry regulations