Senate Dems hit FCC chairman on consumer data risks

Senate Dems hit FCC chairman on consumer data risks
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Democratic Senators slammed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for his recent move to abandon new FCC rules on how internet service providers can use customer data

Sens. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden expands on Obama ethics pledge Democrats shoot down McConnell's filibuster gambit Biden signs executive order invoking 2-year lobbying ban for appointees MORE (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCancel culture comes for the moderates Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-Mass.), and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots MORE (D-Minn.) cited security concerns while criticizing Pai’s decision not to enact the broadband privacy provisions approved under Tom Wheeler’s chairmanship of the FCC.


“Your proposal comes despite the mounting number of data breaches impacting consumers throughout this country,” the Senators wrote in the letter to Chairman Pai. “We oppose your efforts and believe it would make subscribers’ sensitive information more vulnerable to breaches and unauthorized use.”

The senators’ letter comes in response to Pai’s decision to not enact broadband privacy rules that would have forced broadband companies to get customers' permission before acquiring their ‘sensitive’ information, like browsing data and usage history.

In a press call yesterday, Markey separately hammered Pai’s move on broadband privacy.

Markey has been a consistent critic of Pai's since the FCC chairman assumed the helm in January. The Massachusetts senator has blasted Pai’s decision to drop or scale back various net neutrality related proposals and established himself as a firm enemy of any efforts to legislatively curb net neutrality.

“Many consumers are essentially captive to their ISP [internet service providers],” Markey said on Monday. “Many Americans across the country only have access to a couple ISPs to choose from and simply cannot change service providers if their privacy protections are not transparent or robust.”

Supporters of the decision to drop broadband privacy measures argue that they’re an example of regulations going too far. They contend that it’s unfair that broadband providers cannot collect and then sell the same data that internet companies can and do.