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Public Comment on Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services Open Access

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The FCC has proposed detailed rules governing privacy practices of broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”) providers. The rule would establish new, and different, privacy standards, beyond those that apply to other Internet companies (“edge” providers such as Facebook or ESPN that offer content). It would regulate privacy practices for Customer proprietary network information (CPNI) (such as service plan information, geo-location, MAC addresses, and source and destination IP addresses) and customer proprietary information (CPI) (CPNI plus personally identifiable information acquired in connection with provision of BIAS). Providers would have to disclose the types of CPI they collect, how they use and when they disclose this information, the categories of entities to whom it is disclosed and purposes for which those entities use the information. Providers could use CPI without consent when necessary for providing services. The rule would require “opt out” consent for marketing communications related services to their customers, and “opt in” consent for all other uses of CPI. Thus, BIAS providers would have to obtain “opt in” consent for many uses of information for which other Internet companies either offer no choice or offer an “opt out” choice. The rule includes specific requirements for notifications in the event of a data breach, and imposes information security standards. It would prohibit certain practices, such as conditioning services on waiver of privacy rights or offering financial incentives for such waivers.

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