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FCC Stops Privacy Rule Before It Takes Effect

In one area, the Trump administration will allow more access to information. Unfortunately, the information is not pubic data, but data on your personal use of the Internet and access will be given to private sector marketers. The Trump Administration’s FCC stayed the FCC’s recently adopted Privacy Rules before they could take effect on March 2. The effect will be to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell your personal data for marketing or advertisement purposes without your permission.

Trump’s New FCC Chairman Lets ISPs Sell Your Private Data Without Your Consent by Mohit Kumar, Hacker News (March 02, 2017)

Trump FCC rescinds and revokes reports and actions

On Friday February 3, 2017, the FCC rescinded and revoked orders and reports that had been issued late in the Obama administration. Some of the reports can be found under transition.fcc.gov, but it is not clear if there are links to them from fcc.gov or if they will remain available to the public.

The Benton Foundation devoted a special issue of Benton’s Headlines to a list of links to stories about the Friday actions. See the entire list of links here: BENTON’S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES (February 5, 2017).

Some of the stories covered include

  • The FCC paper on Cybersecurity Risk Reduction, which set cybersecurity as a top priority for the Commission, has been set aside and rescinded the White Paper and any and all guidance, determinations, and conclusions contained therein. “The White Paper will have no legal or other effect or meaning going forward.” The white paper said:

    The rapid growth of network-connected consumer devices creates particular cybersecurity challenges. The Commission’s oversight of our country’s privately owned and managed communications networks is an important component of the larger effort to protect critical communications infrastructure and the American public from malicious cyber actors.

    The white paper is available on an FCC transition website: Cybersecurity Risk Reduction Federal Communications Commission, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau David Simpson, January 18, 2017

  • Retracted the E-rate Modernization Progress Report saying that the report will have no legal or other effect or meaning going forward. The E‐rate program helps ensure that virtually all schools and libraries are able to connect to the Internet. The report is available on an FCC transition web site: E‐rate Modernization Progress Report From Jon Wilkins (Jan 18, 2017).

  • The Commission stopped its review of wireless carriers that exclude their own video-streaming services from customers’ usage caps.
  • FCC handcuffs lifeline program telling nine companies they won’t be allowed to participate in a federal program meant to help them provide affordable Internet access to low-income consumers — weeks after those companies had been given the green light.
  • New FCC Chairman Releases a Friday-Afternoon Flurry of Anti-Consumer Items Freepress.
  • Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules New York Times

New FCC.gov

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched its new website after a testing period.

  • Introducing the New FCC.gov FCC Blog by David Kitzmiller, FCC Webmaster, and Deanna Stephens, FCC.Gov Project Manager. (December 10, 2015)

    The new site features a more responsive design, a new site navigation structure, and an improved search capability.

Tell the FCC what you think about its website

The Federal Communications Commission has a prototype of a new version of its website and is soliciting comments:

President Obama supports net neutrality. How about a truly public “public utility”?

What the Internet actually looks like
The news is all over the Internet: President Obama today made a strong statement in support of [[Net neutrality]], urging the FCC to adopt strict rules on net neutrality in order to assure a level Internet playing field and not allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to discriminate Internet traffic (news coverage here and here).

Yes, net neutrality is a good thing, and it’s about time Obama came out in support — after all, over 100,000 people signed the White House petition and the FCC Received 3.7 Million comments in support of Net neutrality!

However, we need more drastic (or common sense!) measures than simply assuring that ISPs provide a level Internet playing field. The big ISPs (e.g., Comcast and Verizon) are currently consolidating and are acting like drug cartels — don’t take my word for it, watch John Oliver’s piece on Net Neutrality below. So what we need is NOT a level playing field for the monopolistic ISPs — Obama wants FCC to regulate the Internet under under Title II of the Telecommunications Act would mean reclassifying it as a utility — but a playing field that is truly public and noncommercial.