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False Privacy Rules Must Go

By Katie McAuliffe | March 09, 2017

Senator Jeff Flake's (R-Ariz.) resolution to undo false broadband privacy rules will restore consumer choice and online competition in the marketplace for internet service providers.

The resolution, introduced through the Congressional Review Act (CRA ), has 34 co-sponsors, who realize that just because a rule includes privacy in the headline, doesn't mean the privacy protections are real. The FCC's narrow view on what constitutes privacy protection, make its rules counterproductive to actual consumer privacy protections.

Congress is fully justified in rescinding these rules both because the FCC Order lacks proper legal grounding and because of the need to ensure real consumer privacy across contexts of user experience. An effective repeal of the midnight rules would remove the double regulatory standard that places restrictions on internet service providers that do not apply throughout the internet ecosystem. This would in turn restore legal stability where there is now confusion in the current legal framework for telecom networks.

The resolution is a timely measure that contributes to the FCC’s broader objective under Ajit Pai to promote innovation, close the digital divide and take a streamlined approach to regulation.