Joint Statement of Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Terrell McSweeny

On Indefinite Suspension of Data Security Rules

February 27, 2017

Washington, DC - - (February 24, 2017) - - “Today Chairman Pai has created an unfortunate dilemma: accept a Bureau-level action that indefinitely unwinds key consumer privacy protections established by the FCC last year, or accept four business days (rather than the usual three weeks) to evaluate and vote on a decision that has massive ramifications for the security of private information held by broadband providers,” said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

“I am very troubled by the news that the data security protections of the Broadband Privacy Rule will be put on hold. What this means, in effect, is that consumers with a broadband subscription will be less protected because the only cop on the beat has been taken off their patrol. In an age of Internet connected everything, removing security requirements from broadband providers is needlessly dangerous for American consumers. The rules the FCC adopted conform to long standing FTC practice and provide clear rules on how broadband companies should protect their customers’ personal information. This action weakens the security requirement guarding every consumers’ most personal data and should be reconsidered,” said FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny.

“The outcome is clear. Chairman Pai is determined to take action that leaves consumers without a cop on the beat protecting their personal information from misuse by their broadband service provider. This means no federal data security requirements whatsoever for broadband providers. This is the antithesis of putting #ConsumersFirst,” said Clyburn and McSweeny.

“Then-Commissioner Pai said in 2014 that ‘FCC decisions issued on the bureau level cut the commissioners out of the decision-making process entirely.’ Today, he is using the very same tool as Chairman that he criticized as a Commissioner. I could not agree with his 2014-self more that ‘bad process makes bad policy.’ And that is exactly what we see here today,” continued Clyburn.

Information source: Federal Communications Commission (This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.)