Senate Dem hammers FCC head's reported plan for net neutrality

Senate Dem hammers FCC head's reported plan for net neutrality
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Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending Warren, Democrats ask federal government to resume tracking breakthrough cases MORE (D-Mass) on Friday blasted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s reported plans to scale back net neutrality measures.

“The only way to protect a free and open internet is with strong net neutrality rules of the road — not voluntary guidelines — that ensure businesses, innovators and families can use the world’s greatest platform for commerce and communications,” Markey said in a sharply worded statement.

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“Chairman Pai’s proposal would put the future of an open and free internet in the hands of big corporations and the powerful few at the expense of consumers.”

On Thursday, Reuters and others outlets reported that Pai planned on rolling back the reclassification of broadband companies as common carriers, moving them out of the FCC’s regulatory jurisdiction and back into the hands of the Federal Trade Commission — a move cable companies have aggressively sought for since the Open Internet Order was approved in 2015.

The Democratic senator has been one of Pai’s most vocal opponents in Congress on telecommunications issues. During the protracted broadband privacy fight, Markey took multiple jabs at Congress Republicans’ and Pai’s position to repeal FCC rules that would keep internet service providers from selling consumer data without consumer consent.

Trump signed the repeal of the FCC’s broadband privacy protections on Monday.

Markey criticized the specifics of Pai’s reported plan to enforce net neutrality by having telecommunications companies voluntarily insert it in their own terms of service and privacy policies, which the FTC would ultimately enforce.  

“What is the cable company's privacy policy? There is no privacy policy, right? [Pai’s] policy is, you have no policy,” Markey told The Hill on Friday.

“By subcontracting it to the cable and telephone industry, they’re essentially saying they’re just going to allow for the monetization of the private information of all Americans for the profit of the broadband industry.”