Democratic Senators slammed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for his recent move to abandon the FCC’s protections of consumer data from internet service providers.
Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate Dems hit FCC chair on consumer data risks Last chance to improve Afghanistan’s fledgling Air Force? Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch MORE (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate Dems hit FCC chair on consumer data risks The Hill’s 12:30 Report Jeff Sessions to give remarks on African American History Month MORE (D-Mass.), and Al FrankenAl FrankenSenate Dems hit FCC chair on consumer data risks Education’s DeVos, unions need to find way to bridge divide and work together DeVos: ‘My job isn’t to win a popularity contest with the media’ MORE (D-Minn.) cited security concerns to criticize of Pai’s decision to not enact the broadband privacy provisions that had been approved under Tom Wheeler’s chairmanship of the FCC.
“Your proposal comes despite the mounting number of data breaches impacting consumers throughout this country,” the Senators wrote in the letter to Chairman Pai. “We oppose your efforts and believe it would make subscribers’ sensitive information more vulnerable to breaches and unauthorized use.”
The Senator’s letter comes in response to Pai’s decision to not enact broadband privacy rules that would have forced broadband companies to get customers’ permission before acquiring their ‘sensitive’ information, like browsing data and usage history.
In a press call yesterday, Markey separately hammered Pai’s move on broadband privacy.
Markey has been a consistent critic of Pai’s since the FCC chairman assumed the helm in January. The Massachusetts senator has blasted Pai’s decision to drop or scale back various net neutrality related proposals and established himself as a firm enemy of any efforts to legislatively curb net neutrality.
“Many consumers are essentially captive to their [internet service providers],” Markey said on Monday. “Many Americans across the country only have access to a couple ISPs to choose from and simply cannot change service providers if their privacy protections are not transparent or robust.”
Supporters of the decision to drop broadband privacy measures argue that they’re an example of regulations going too far. They contend that it’s unfair that broadband providers cannot collect and then sell the same data that internet companies can and do.