ACA: FTC Is Way to Go on Broadband Privacy

But says whatever the FCC does, smaller operators should get relief

The American Cable Association has added its voice to the chorus of ISPs taking aim at the FCC's broadband privacy framework.

In its reply comments to the commission, the ACA said the proposed privacy and security rules are unnecessary, exceed the FCC's authority, and would comprise a burden on all ISPs but a particular onus on smaller operators without an "offsetting" consumer benefit.

The FCC has come up with bright-line rules for handling broadband customer proprietary network information (CPNI), which differs from the Federal Trade Commission approach. The FTC had jurisdiction over broadband CPNI before the FCC reclassified ISPs as common carriers under Title II.

The ACA joined the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in calling on the FCC to stick with the FTC approach rather than apply rules to ISPs that don't apply to the online user data collection and monetization by edge providers like Google.

The ACA pointed out to the FCC that support for an FTC-based model extends beyond smaller operators to FTC staff.

I the FCC goes ahead with its new rules, the ACA added, smaller operators should get relief from them. The group said that relief should include exemptions from "the specific 'minimum' data security requirements"; "the more onerous elements of its customer approval framework by grandfathering existing customer consents and exempting small providers from the requirement to obtain additional approval where they do not share sensitive personal information with third parties for marketing purposes"; "several elements of the commission’s proposed data breach notification rule (as applied to both voice services and BIAS) by exempting small providers from the specific notification deadlines in favor of an 'as soon as reasonably practicable' standard"; and "any customer dashboard requirements that it adopts pursuant to its notice and choice."