All posts in FCC

Congress’s Attempt to Repeal the FCC Internet Privacy Rules: The Void Will Be Filled

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

FCC Privacy Rules Repealed

Recently, Congress voted to overturn new FCC rules that regulated the privacy of broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  The rules implemented the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 222 to ISPs, requiring opt in for sharing sensitive customer data, opt out for sharing non-sensitive customer data, as well as transparency requirements.  Sensitive data includes precise geo-location, children’s information, health information, financial information, Social Security Numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the contents of communications.  The rules required reasonable data security protections as well as data breach notification.

FCC LogoThis development is a setback in Internet privacy protection, but it doesn’t mean that Internet privacy is doomed.  There are many other regulators and sources of privacy law to fill the void.

Pro-industry advocates often decry much privacy regulation and cheer the death of rules such as the FCC rules.  They advocate for rolling back the jurisdiction and power of regulatory agencies like the FCC and FTC.

Ironically, efforts to weaken the FTC and FCC probably won’t lead to more freedom for industry.  In the short term after regulation is weakened or killed, there is a void, so this seems like a nice freer zone for companies..  But nature abhors a vacuum.  Other regulators will fill the void, and typically it is regulators who are most passionate about protecting privacy such as California and the EU.  They are far more likely to regulate privacy even more stringently than the FCC or FTC.

In the absence of federal regulation, many states pass laws that create a complicated patchwork of inconsistent regulation.  This is what happened with data security regulation and data breach notification.  Way back in 2005, after the ChoicePoint breach captured national headlines, Congress was considering enacting a law.  But it failed to act.  Instead, the vast majority of states passed data breach notification statutes, and many states passed data security laws.  Instead of having to comply with one law, companies must navigate laws in many states.  The most common strategy for companies operating in all states  is to try to follow the strictest state law,  Thus, the de facto rule is the law of the state with the most strict protections.

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A Gaping Hole in Consumer Privacy Protection Law

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

A Gaping Hole in Consumer Privacy Protection Law

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit issued a decision with profound implications for consumer privacy protection law. In FTC v. AT&T Mobility (9th Cir. Aug. 29, 2016), a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit held that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lacks jurisdiction over companies that engage in common carrier activity. The result is that there is now a gaping hole in consumer privacy protection law.

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Drones, Data Breaches, Cramming, and Other Privacy + Security Updates

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

drones and data breaches

by Daniel J. Solove

This post is co-authored with Professor Paul M. Schwartz.

This post is part of a post series where we round up some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding. For a PDF version of this post, and for archived issues of previous posts, click here.

We became quite busy after the last update, so we’re a bit backlogged. We are catching up on developments late last year and we have a lot of material. We will release the next issue soon, as there is too much material to fit into this issue.

For a PDF version of this post, click here.

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Who Are the Privacy and Security Cops on the Beat?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

privacy and security

law blog 2

by Daniel J. Solove

Are privacy and security laws being enforced effectively? This post is post #3 of a series called Enforcing Privacy and Security Laws.

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