In its recent Open Internet Order, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission determined that broadband Internet access services are appropriately classified as common carrier “telecommunications services” under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In doing so, the agency established itself as the primary U.S. data privacy and security regulator for those services and triggered additional requirements under the Act. It also promised a future rulemaking that could result in a sea change in how ISPs and their business partners interact with consumer data. Although the decision is widely expected to be appealed in court, organizations operating across the broadband ecosystem would be prudent to assess the potential impact on their current and planned online service portfolio.
Just as privacy remains front page news, it remains a subject of bi-partisan interest on Capitol Hill. This entry briefly describes (1) the oversight role Congressional committees are performing when privacy makes the news, (2) the establishment of a new Senate Judiciary Committee privacy subcommittee chaired by Senator Al Franken (D-MN); (3) the expected legislation to be introduced in the Senate; (3) the bills that have landed in the House and the other proposals expected there; (4) the focus on amendments to ECPA and CALEA; and (5) the contintuing innovations in state legislatures. In short, a two minute read on the state of privacy in the legislative branch.