osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

FCC To Vote on Broadband Privacy Order -- Achievement Unlocked.

Today, the FCC will vote on rules to apply Section 222 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 222, to broadband access service. From what I am able to determine, the rules represent a significant and material improvement in privacy standards for online services.

No, this does not apply to Google or FB or iOS or any edge provider or operating system. This is the FCC. It's jurisdiction is over communications services. But the rule adopted today are -- potentially at least -- the begining of the ratchet upward for online privacy overall. It takes the baseline from the FTC 2012 Policy Report and expands it. If the FTC or Congress builds on this, and that is the obvious next step, it becomes a blueprint for Do Not Track.

This, of course, is why Google and the tech indsutry have worked with the broadband industry to water it down. And they partially succeeded in watering it down from the initial much stronger Notice of Proposed Ruleamking issued in March. But that is to be expected. As I tell everyone about public policy exercises like this: I start with my ideal win clearly defined and my absolute red lines clearly understood. I fight for the difference between the two, trying to get as close to the ideal as possible. This is probably about halfway between the two, which is pretty good when you are taking on the entire industry.

Mind you, life does not end with the vote. We will need to see the actual language. There will be the inevitable fights over enforcement. Still, assuming all goes as expected, we will have accomplished the first significant upgrade to online privacy since the FTC first started enforcing online privacy as part of its overall consumer protection authority, and provided a basis for a further upward ratchet in privacy. It is enough for today.

Yes, your "Never-never country." Yes, your "edge of cultivation."
And "no sense in gong further" -- til I crossed the range to see.
God forgive me no I didn't. It's His present to our nation.
Anybody could have found it -- but His whisper came to me!

And I listened, dammit. 

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