Statement On Senate Resolution To Block FCC’s Discriminatory Privacy Rules

Posted by | Privacy, Regulatory State | No Comments

Washington, DC, March 23, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate resolution to block the Federal Communications Commission from imposing discriminatory privacy rules on broadband internet service providers:

“The resolution enforces the enduring principle of equality in law—that the government must not impose rules that favor one class over another who is similarly situated. The FCC rules flouted this principle by singling out ISPs despite overwhelming evidence that other types of companies are similarly situated with respect to their ability to collect consumer data online.

Government coercion based on one’s membership in a particular class is the most corrupting of all, because it creates a government-sponsored privilege for the unregulated that cannot be explained by reference to first principles. When such regulation is accepted as legitimate, even for the best of pragmatic reasons, it corrodes the principles of justice that are necessary to support a free society. Left unchecked, discriminatory regulation will rust away those principles, and free society will fall.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Comments in Support of Petitions for Reconsideration

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Privacy | No Comments

Tech Knowledge filed the following comments in support of the petitions for reconsideration of the FCC’s broadband privacy rules (WC Docket No. 16-106).

Comments in Support of Petitions for Reconsideration

These comments illustrate the following points:

  1. Google’s decision to combine its users’ personally-identifiable information with the vast browsing data of its advertising subsidiary, DoubleClick, which accesses consumer data on 75.3% of all websites that use an ad server — a decision Google made after the submission of edge-provider data on which the FCC relied — renders the FCC’s finding inaccurate with respect to the percentage of web information Google can access.
  2. The FCC’s findings regarding encryption failed to consider consumers’ use of encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs) that are available at low cost and even for free. At a minimum, the FCC must explain why it’s necessary to impose unique privacy rules on ISPs when a solution is already widely-available in the marketplace at little or no cost.
  3. The FCC’s failure to consider the fact that its factual findings regarding edge providers directly contradict the factual findings made by the FTC — the federal agency who is the nation’s expert on edge provider regulation — constitutes arbitrary agency action as a matter of law.
  4. The FCC’s failure to consider arguments regarding the impact of its rules on competition among ISPs and edge providers in the online advertising and big data markets constitutes arbitrary agency action as a matter of law.
  5. Privacy is a personal right, and it’s reasonable for consumers to assume the law will protect their person from one network to another — but the FCC’s rules do not provide such protection.
  6. There is no legal barrier whatsoever to the FCC treating section 222 of the Communications Act as if it were coextensive with the FTC’s approach to privacy.

Read More

Statement On FCC Action to Protect Consumers’ Online Privacy

Posted by | Privacy | No Comments

Washington, DC, March 1, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding news that the Federal Communications Commission has taken action to provide consistent protection for American’s online privacy:

“I’m pleased to see that the FCC and FTC have pledged to work together on harmonizing the FCC’s privacy rules for broadband providers with the FTC’s standards for other online companies. Consumers will be best served by a consistent and easily understandable set of standards. Consumers’ privacy shouldn’t depend on which agency is charged with protecting it or the identity of the company that serves them. Consumers and internet companies alike deserve equal protection under the law.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Statement On FCC’s Partial Stay of Broadband ‘Privacy’ Rules

Posted by | Privacy | No Comments

Washington, DC, February 24, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding news that Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will stay the agency’s broadband privacy rules to the extent they are inconsistent with the economy-wide privacy rules enforced by the Federal Trade Commission:

“This is a critical first step in protecting consumer privacy online while promoting internet competition. The existing FCC rules are an unjust deception that must be stopped now, before the damage to consumer privacy and competition is already done.

Staying only the rules that are inconsistent with the FTC’s privacy framework doesn’t mean that there will be no enforcement mechanism in place. It only means that broadband ISPs will be subject to the same rules that apply to every other company in the United States. That’s the type of fairness that justice in this country has always required. There simply is no pro-consumer justification for the previous FCC’s decision to take a discriminatory and anticompetitive approach to this issue while dismissing the judgment of the FTC.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Statement On Democratic Senators’ Press Conference Supporting the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Net Neutrality Series 2.0 | No Comments

Washington, DC, February 7, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding today’s press conference in which Democratic senators campaigned for the Federal Communications Commission’s open internet regulations:

“Obama’s FCC didn’t settle the issue of internet regulation. The FCC opposed bright-line net neutrality rules during the Bush Administration, adopted them during the Obama Administration, and is expected to change course again.

Without new Congressional legislation, the FCC’s net neutrality rules will keep swinging like a pendulum with every presidential election. A lasting approach to net neutrality must come from the democratic process in Congress, not executive fiat.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Statement on Petition to Stay FCC Privacy Rules

Posted by | Privacy | No Comments

Washington, DC, January 30, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding a petition to stay the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy restrictions that was filed by a group of internet associations.

“The previous FCC’s decision to adopt a discriminatory approach to broadband privacy was driven by its desire to protect particular industry players, not consumers. The agency’s biased rules inhibit the ability of ISPs to compete with edge providers in the internet data market without providing any meaningful privacy protection.

If the rules were stayed, ISPs would abide by the same privacy protections as all other companies under the Federal Trade Commission’s established legal framework, which protects consumer privacy while promoting competition in the data market. Consistent privacy rules and additional competition would be a win-win for broadband consumers.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

FCC’s Proposed Cybersecurity Regulation Fatally Flawed

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Cybersecurity, Public Safety | No Comments

For most people, the hardest part of their last few days on the job is finding the motivation to tie up loose ends before they leave. This should have been easy for the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, who left the agency upon President Trump’s inauguration. After Trump’s election victory, congressional leadership advised Wheeler to focus his staff’s energies on consensus and administrative matters and to avoid complex or controversial issues.

Wheeler didn’t take their advice. Just two days before Trump’s inauguration, Wheeler’s FCC issued a white paper asserting that the agency (1) has jurisdiction to comprehensively regulate cybersecurity for commercial communications networks and (2) should regulate the cybersecurity practices of broadband internet service providers (ISPs) and other sectors of the communications industry.

The FCC’s report is not only complex and controversial, its key conclusions are wrong. Like the analysis in so many other items the Wheeler FCC issued, the report just presumes the agency has authority to do whatever it likes with regard to cybersecurity. It doesn’t. Congress has determined that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the appropriate forum for addressing cybersecurity, not the FCC.

The FCC’s view of the cybersecurity marketplace is also based on something other than reality. Compelling evidence shows that market forces are in fact incentivizing substantial investment in the deployment of cybersecurity protections without the FCC’s interference. Read More

Statement On Ajit Pai’s Designation as FCC Chairman

Posted by | Regulatory State, Statement | No Comments

Washington, DC, January 23, 2017 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the designation of Ajit Pai as the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

“There is no one more qualified to guide the FCC for the next four years. Chairman Pai’s intelligence, experience, and humility will serve the American people well. The future of communications regulation could not be any brighter.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.

Lame Duck FCC Claims Free Data Harms Consumers?

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Video, Wireless | No Comments

Free data plans like T-Mobile’s Binge On let consumers stream internet video without counting their data usage toward monthly caps. The Federal Communications Commission has recognized these plans can benefit consumers and competition. What’s not to like about free data?

According to the lame duck FCC, the answer depends on who’s offering it. The FCC’s outgoing chairman said T-Mobile’s Binge On service is pro-competitive and pro-innovation. According to a recent FCC letter, however, it’s “anticompetitive” when AT&T gives free data to its mobile customers who subscribe to DirecTV’s streaming video service. That’s par for the course with the current FCC, which is more interested in picking industry’s winners and losers than protecting consumers.

That appears to be what the FCC is doing in this case. The agency’s letter acknowledges that AT&T offers the same payment terms to all companies that want to take advantage of free data services. AT&T doesn’t treat DirecTV any differently than it treats Netflix, Hulu, or any other video streaming provider. Read More

Tech Knowledge Statement: Trump Victory A New Hope For FCC

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Haymarket, VA, November 9, 2016 – Fred Campbell, director of Tech Knowledge, issued the following statement regarding the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States:

“Trump’s victory offers new hope that the Federal Communications Commission will renew its faith in the dynamism of private enterprise and the competitive spirit. The agency’s pre-Obama policy of relying primarily on competitive market forces to drive investment and innovation in communications networks and services enabled the dynamic internet economy that we know and love. The Obama Administration’s love for top-down government mandates threatened to destroy that economy, but it’s not too late. The Trump Administration has a prime opportunity to level the playing field at the FCC and work with Congress on legislation that will benefit all Americans.”

Tech Knowledge promotes market-oriented technology policies on behalf of the public interest. Additional information about Tech Knowledge can be found on our website, techknowledge.center.