The private sector joins to attack Net Neutrality rules
The private sector joins to attack Net Neutrality rules. Image: YouTube.

Many large American cable providers have come together on Tuesday to pressure the FCC into backpedaling privacy regulations approved last fall by the Obama administration. Their main argument is they are receiving unfair treatment from the institution.

The US Telecom trade group leads the effort against net neutrality, filing a joint petition that “respectfully” urges the FCC to reconsider their stance on these laws and also to “modify key elements” of the 2016 ISP privacy rule.

The U. S. Court of Appeals, along with the Commission, upheld all the laws regarding open internet in June of last year. Undoing these actions would take the telecom companies a trip to the Supreme Court or a visit to Congress.

Executives want the FCC to reconsider Net Neutrality rules

As the document states, the petition merely wants the FCC to hold another vote instead of removing these laws altogether, which would then require some higher power to intervene.

The petition explains the net neutrality vote came with a 3-2 division and that it also “disregards the economic costs of foreclosing productive uses of information.” The group notes that these expenses will “exert upward pressure” in broadband prices.

The ISP privacy rules require over-the-edge Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to get their customers’ permission (within an opt-in system) before using their browsing data for advertising purposes.

The order also forces them to implement data security and data breach notification policies, and to have a case-by-case approach information sharing incentives.

Advertisers say using consumer’s data is “protected speech”

The Association of National Advertisers, The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, and many others, also filed a similar petition to the FCC, also on January 3.

The ad traders argue that the FCC’s ruling “imposes sweeping and onerous requirements” for them to make use of customer data. They are also claiming that the ruling is a direct violation of the First Amendment.

“The creation, analysis, and transfer of consumer data for marketing purposes constitute speech,” the group says. Forbidding “web viewing history and app usage information […] unlawfully restrains and unreasonably burdens the ability of providers to engage in broad ranges of protected speech.”

The Federal Communications Commission will undergo a change of leadership when Tom Wheeler, its current director, resigns on January 20. Republican commissioners will double the number of Democrats, which might lead to significant policy changes.

Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai is one of the top picks for chairman, according to recent rumors. He’s an outspoken opponent of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations and the ISP privacy rule.

Source: MediaPost Communications