Blumenthal Applauds FCC Rule to Increase Broadband Privacy

[HARTFORD, CT] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) welcomed the proposed final rule by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oversee how broadband providers can collect and use customers’ data and information about their online activities. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed final rule at the end of the month.

“This rule will put consumers back in the driver’s seat and in control of their personal data. Many Americans are unaware that their broadband providers, as the carrier of all Internet traffic, are able to collect and use their data to paint a detailed picture of who they are, where they go, and what they like to do,” Blumenthal said. “I applaud the FCC for proposing a strong final rule that requires consumers’ explicit opt-in consent before an Internet Service Providers can collect their web browsing and app usage history. These rules are vital to protecting consumers from broadband service providers’ expansive and unwelcome collection of their online behavior. Signing up for Internet service should not mean signing away our right to privacy.”

During a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee evaluating the FCC’s proposed rule, Blumenthal questioned the panel of witnesses on internet service providers’ (ISP) commitment to consumer privacy.

In response to a question from Blumenthal, Professor Paul Ohm, a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, noted: “Today, a company that really does want to compile a dossier about every single one of their customers – even one with relatively constrained resources, like a small ISP – can absolutely, off the shelf, buy the technology to do something like that.”

Video of the hearing is available here.