The FCC Stays Data Security Rules for Internet Service Providers


By: Robyn M. Flegal
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, to temporarily stay a portion of the data security rules passed in October of 2016. The portion of the rules stayed by the FCC would have imposed heightened customer data security requirements on broadband internet service providers. Before the stay went into effect, high-speed internet providers would have been required to (1) secure customer data against hacking and unauthorized uses, and (2) obtain customer permission before using or sharing data on web browsing and usage. The FCC says the stay will remain in effect while the FCC  reconsiders the privacy rules and works with the Federal Trade Commission to create a “comprehensive and consistent” framework for protecting American consumers’ online privacy.

This stay comes after broadband providers and advertising trade groups filed petitions with the FCC, arguing that the rules gave an unfair advantage to web companies who use customer information for advertising purposes. The FCC Chairman stated that the FCC should not be engaged in policing broadband providers over online privacy, and that it did not make sense for internet service providers to be evaluated under a framework distinct from other online companies. This stay is consistent with predictions that the FCC’s privacy rules will be softened under the new administration.

FMG’s Data Security & Privacy team will continue to monitor the FCC’s stay  and will report on any significant developments. For more information contact Robyn Flegal at [email protected].