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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen Welcomes New FCC Approach to Internet Openness

Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security FTC FCC

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

On May 18, Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen issued a statement on the FCC’s publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to “reinstate a light-touch regulatory approach protecting Internet openness.” The Notice proposes the following actions: (i) returning to the framework under Title I of the Communications Act instead of following Title II regulatory guidance; (ii) classifying mobile broadband Internet access service as “private mobile service”; and (iii) eliminating Title II’s “vague and expansive” Internet conduct standard, thus eliminating regulatory uncertainty. “I welcome the adoption of this NPRM as further progress toward restoring the FTC’s ability to protect broadband subscribers from unfair and deceptive practices, including violations of their privacy. Those consumer protections were an unfortunate casualty of the FCC’s 2015 decision to subject broadband to utility-style regulation. This new proceeding offers an opportunity to undo that decision and thereby return broadband consumers to the expert protection of the FTC,” stated Chairman Ohlhausen.

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