News Ticker

Rumble over FCC privacy rules start ahead of fall rule making

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler promised the agency would open up “this autumn” a rule making on privacy under the open Internet order. But that’s about all Wheeler said on the issue of privacy during a speech and Q and A Friday at the Brookings Institution.

As he’s expressed on other occasions, Wheeler did indicate that privacy is going to be a big priority for the FCC.

“If consumers worry that they don’t have sufficient privacy online, why are they going to use online? We need to deal with that,” Wheeler said.

For now, Internet service providers will have to rely on the vague guidance the agency issued in May that advises broadband providers to take “reasonable, good-faith steps” to comply with the law and employ “effective privacy protections in line with their privacy policies and core tenets of basic privacy protections.”

Many in the online industry are worried that the FCC will go too far and encroach on the Federal Trade Commission, which was considered the de facto privacy copy until the FCC passed its open Internet order.

“For decades the Federal Trade Commission has performed admirably as America’s consumer privacy regulator. The Apps Alliance, app publishers and digital industries have not always agreed with the Commission’s interpretation or application of its consumer privacy authority, but there is absolutely no principled reason to have a second federal agency regulating consumer privacy. This is not the ‘regulatory forbearance’ that America was promised,” said Jon Potter, president of the Application Developers Alliance.