Comcast, Verizon, AT&T Lobby to Make Privacy Rules Even Weaker
While there's a lot of lip service paid toward "privacy," the reality is we really have few meaningful consumer privacy protections in the age of clickstream sales, behavioral ads, undeletable cookies, and location data sales. Not too surprisingly, companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are lobbying fiercely to have the already pathetic privacy protections we do have, even weaker.
A report in the Financial Times
notes how the broadband carriers, already having worked tirelessly to weaken FCC authority, want to shift all privacy oversight to the even weaker FTC:
Proponents of the shift, which would strip authority from the Federal Communications Commission and expand the mandate of the Federal Trade Commission, say the move would simplify an antiquated regulatory structure that has not kept pace with the changing media landscape. Traditional media companies face tougher restrictions than their new media rivals even though the services they offer are becoming increasingly similar.
But critics contend the change is a ploy by the companies to end privacy oversight by a watchdog -- the FCC -- that has the authority to limit the kinds of consumer information the groups can sell, and essentially move to a self-regulatory regime. The FTC, which has brought privacy cases against Google and Facebook, is seen by many experts as an agency that has tried to be an effective privacy enforcer but has limited power."
That's the same FTC that has done nothing meaningful when it comes to protecting consumer privacy. In fact, former FTC boss John Leibowitz spent the last few years paying lip service to real consumer privacy protections, then left the agency to join this new Comcast, AT&T and Verizon industry lobbying effort
to weaken privacy rules further. With friends like these...