WASHINGTON D.C. —  Yesterday, TechFreedom urged the Federal Communications Commission to return responsibility for overseeing broadband privacy to the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees all other online privacy issues. While resolving underlying questions about the FTC’s legal authority, the FCC should stay the rules it issued last October and, instead, enforce the FCC’s statutory authority directly in a way that parallels the FTC’s approach. The comments state:

The initial Order was deeply flawed, in both its legal and policy conclusions, so we urge the FCC to grant the petitions for reconsideration posthaste, and quickly restore a level playing field throughout the Internet ecosystem when it comes to privacy regulation.

The initial Broadband Privacy Order effectively created two sets of privacy rules: one for ISPs and another for edge services,” said TechFreedom President Berin Szóka. “This regulatory imbalance warps the playing field, and does real harm to both competition and consumers. The FCC should rectify the mistake of the previous administration and more quickly to harmonize its approach with the FTC. This will ensure consistent rules for everyone in the digital marketplace.”

There won’t be a gap in consumer protection anywhere in this process,” concluded Szóka. “During the stay, the FCC will still be able to address unjust and unreasonable practices using its Title II authority — just as it did for the year and a half before the privacy order was issued. State privacy laws and common law tort or contract claims can also help protect consumers’ privacy.”


We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See our other work on broadband privacy, including:

  • A panel discussion on the right approach to broadband privacy regulation
  • Our statement on the privacy order’s problems
  • Our statement on the decision to stay the order