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ISPs Use Facebook Scandal to Push For Bad Privacy Laws They Know They’ll Get To Write

Published: April 12, 2018
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Source: motherboard

Large ISPs that have spent countless hours fighting meaningful privacy protections are suddenly using the Facebook fracas to call for new privacy laws. Why? They know they’ll probably be the ones writing the legislation. 

ISPs like Comcast and AT&T furiously lobbied the Trump administration and Congress to kill FCC broadband privacy protections before they could take effect last year. Those rules would have simply required that ISPs be completely transparent about what consumer data is being collected and sold, and required they provide working opt-out tools. 

The FCC rules were only proposed after ISPs were caught charging broadband customers more money to protect their privacy, modifying wireless packets to track users around the internet (without telling them), and contemplating using private customer financial data to deliver worse customer service to low-income subscribers .

But with the Facebook privacy scandal making headlines, ISPs have suddenly pivoted to insist they support meaningful privacy protections, despite their utterly terrible track record on the topic.

"In the search for privacy best practices, Congress need look no further than America’s broadband providers" 

Former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell, for example, has spent the last few weeks demonizing Silicon Valley companies in speeches and calling for the regulation of Google and Facebook , companies AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be competing with during the streaming video advertisement wars to come. 

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