On Friday, the Federal Register published the FCC’s January 17th Public Notice of the fact that eleven Petitions for Reconsideration were filed in the Broadband Privacy proceeding (WC Docket No. 16-106). The Petitions challenge various aspects of the FCC’s new ISP privacy regime, and were filed by ISP and cable trade groups as well as by advertisers and Internet backbone providers.
These Petitions offer the FCC an opportunity to resolve competing contentions surrounding its privacy and security regime, which is a holdover from the last administration and which has not yet been fully implemented. While parts of the FCC’s 2016 Privacy Order are in effect, other provisions will not apply until they receive approval by the OMB, which, in the new political climate, can no longer be assumed. Additionally, while the old CPNI rules were supposed to be phased out as the new rules took effect, some uncertainty about their status remains. Now that the comment window on the Petitions has opened, stakeholders have an opportunity to weigh in on the FCC’s path forward in defining the scope of its role (if any) as a regulator of privacy and data security practices for ISPs and telecommunications carriers.
Oppositions to the Petitions must be filed on or before March 6, 2017. Replies to an opposition must be filed on or before March 14, 2017. As a reminder, the FCC’s data security rules will take effect on March 2nd if no action is taken before then to rescind them.