Testimony Before U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on FCC’s Flawed Broadband Privacy Proposal

Doug Brake June 14, 2016
June 14, 2016

In testimony before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Doug Brake argued that Congress should direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to abandon its flawed broadband privacy proposal and instead align its approach with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) well established framework, which provides a better balance of privacy concerns and innovation. Internet Service Providers do not have the unique or comprehensive access to consumer data that would justify sector-specific regulation. Furthermore, all major broadband providers already offer consumers the ability to opt-out of existing targeted advertising programs. Instead of the FCC focusing on hypothetical harms in a way that would effectively shut off innovative practices that would benefit the majority of broadband consumers, the FTC’s current practice of allowing flexibility and stepping in where problems develop provides a better balance of privacy and innovation. If privacy policies that would impact a substantial portion of the Internet economy are developed, it should be done at the national level by Congress, not by twisting a statute that was clearly developed for a different time to suit its current purposes, as the FCC is doing.