FCC Chairman Proposes Broad Privacy Restrictions

March 31, 2016 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Tom Wheeler, has proposed a sweeping new set of privacy rules for Internet providers. Under the proposal, providers would need to seek explicit permission from customers before sharing their data with third parties, including marketers and advertisers.

If adopted, the rules would greatly limit Internet providers’ ability to offer third party advertising. In essence, the Commission would regulate Internet providers, such as telephone providers. The rules would not directly affect online services such as Google and Facebook.

The Commission’s claims of jurisdiction over online privacy stem from its recently enacted rules on net neutrality. Those rules are currently being challenged in court.

The AAF believes that the Federal Trade Commission is the appropriate regulator for online privacy matters. The AAF is also a strong supporter of the Digital Advertising Alliance, the advertising industry’s online privacy self-regulatory program.