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Letter to FCC: Privacy Framework Discussion Paper

03.01.2016
Letter

Today, the American Cable Association, Competitive Carriers Association, CTIA, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and USTelecom offer for the Commission’s consideration a detailed proposal for a broadband privacy framework. After significant examination and analysis, these associations have developed the attached consensus Privacy Framework setting forth guidelines and principles to protect consumer privacy in a way that is consistent with other privacy laws that apply to companies providing services online. By adopting these principles, the Commission would establish a regime that protects consumer privacy and security while also providing flexibility for providers to implement and update their practices as consumer expectations and technologies evolve.

If the courts determine that the Commission has authority over broadband privacy, the FCC should focus on four privacy principles: (1) transparency; (2) respect for context and consumer choice; (3) data security; and (4) data breach notification. For each of these principles, the FCC should draw from and harmonize with the longstanding Federal Trade Commission unfairness and deception approach to privacy, which, before the FCC’s reclassification decision, governed the privacy practices of all companies in the Internet ecosystem and will continue to apply to non-ISPs going forward.

As the Commission develops its approach to broadband privacy, we respectfully request that it seek comment on the entirety of the Privacy Framework we submit today. Because regulation of broadband privacy is a new area for the Commission, it should take the necessary time to build a robust record rather than prejudge the issues by adopting tentative conclusions before there is a public discussion of the consensus Privacy Framework.

We look forward to continuing a conversation with the Commission about the best way to provide privacy and innovation benefits to consumers.

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