FCC, FTC heads pledge cooperation on data rules in suspending broadband requirements

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"The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are committed to protecting the online privacy of American consumers".

Holding that jurisdiction over broadband providers' privacy and data security practices should be returned to the FTC, the two officials said that for the time being they "will work together on harmonizing the FCC's privacy rules for broadband providers with the FTC's standards for other companies in the digital economy".

But some critics find the rules inconsistent and unfair because other online companies, such as Google, are not regulated in the same way.

The rules, which were scheduled to take effect on Thursday, aimed to protect personal consumer data. AT&T and Verizon also praised the action.

The data security provisions whose operation have now been halted in view of a stay petition by providers include the requirement that broadband internet access providers engage in reasonable data security practices and provide data breach notification requirements.

"All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, enforced by the same agency", Pai said in a joint statement with Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen.

The vote was immediately met with praise from service providers and industry groups, while privacy and consumer advocates condemned the decision.

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FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the only Democrat on the commission, criticized the move in a statement. We agree that it is vital to fill the consumer protection gap created by the FCC in 2015, and today's action is a step toward properly filling that gap.

Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast's vice president of government communications, called it "a sensible, pro-consumer approach" in which "consumers remain protected by the safeguards in place for the past two years". This will all be achieved without subjecting consumers to regulations that are inconsistent with the FTC's privacy framework for other companies and that exceed the statute.

There were discouraging words as well.

"Chairman Pai has fired his opening salvo in the war on the Open Internet Order, and broadband privacy protections are the first victim", Markey said in a statement. This suspension is just a preview of coming attractions. Pai has reversed several consumer-protection reports, proceedings and orders that were adopted in the final weeks of the Democratic-led FCC. No timeline was given for the rollout of the revamped privacy rules.

US regulators on Wednesday blocked some Obama administration rules on the eve of implementation, regulations that would have subjected broadband providers to stricter scrutiny than web sites face to protect customers' private data. "This is not a controversial requirement". That is not a level playing field.

The rules aimed to protect personal consumer data.

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