The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will stay broadband privacy rules that leveraged rigorous security regulations on providers, Reuters reported this afternoon.
Ajit Pai, President Donald Trump’s pick for FCC chairman, characterized the stay as a way for the government not to “favor one set of companies over another”.
The security measures were put in place under the Obama administration in October.
Some of the data security rules approved in October are intended to go into effect on March 2. Hoping to cut the rule off at the pass before then, Pai asked for a vote before that date. If the full Commission does not vote at that time, the data security portion of the rules will be stayed while the full Commission can consider any changes.
The rule would require providers to get consent from their consumers before using user data such as location, browsing history, health information, and children’s information. Consumers would still need to opt out in order to withhold less personal information, such as their email address or the type of account they held with the provider.
The “technology-neutral” privacy framework would align FCC rules with Federal Trade Commission guidelines for websites not affiliated with providers, such as Google or Facebook. Lawmakers in favor of the stay said in October that the stay would even the playing field for websites, making it more difficult for providers to leverage advertising revenue.
“Chairman Pai believes that the best way to protect the online privacy of American consumers is through a comprehensive and uniform regulatory framework,” a FCC spokesman said in a statement. “All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, and the federal government shouldn’t favor one set of companies over another.”
Nonprofit Internet privacy group Center for Democracy & Technology characterized the move differently, saying in a statement that “Staying the rules will expose internet users to increased risks that their private information will be shared without their consent, or breached without their knowledge.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations