The Future of Broadband Privacy and the Open Internet—Who Will Protect Consumers?


Amid widespread public outcry, Congress took decisive and largely unprecedented action in recent weeks to undo privacy protections enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016.

Last fall, the FCC had required internet service providers (ISPs), which can collect large amounts of personal information about their customers, to give consumers sufficient notice and obtain their consent before sharing any of that data with other entities. The rules also established common-sense requirements in cases of security breaches, designed to ensure timely notification to customers and the FCC.

But Congress overturned those rules in just a few short days, with only the barest discussion and consideration. Using a little-known—and rarely-used—law known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress vetoed the FCC’s actions on a shortened timeline and with a simple majority vote in both chambers. Despite public outcry, President Trump signed the legislation a few days later.

Importantly, by using the CRA Congress prevented the FCC from ever enacting substantially similar privacy rules in the future. While some have argued that the Federal Trade Commission can eventually fill this significant void, recent Court cases hold that there may be no cop on the beat for broadband privacy anytime soon.

Join New America’s Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge as we welcome Federal Trade Commissioner Terrell McSweeny to discuss the impact of the CRA on broadband privacy, and its broader implications for the future of the open internet. The event will also include a panel to unpack the implications surrounding the privacy rules’ repeal.

Join us for a reception with Commissioner McSweeny following the event.


3:00 PM Welcome

Gene Kimmelman
President, Public Knowledge

3:10 PM Opening Remarks

Terrell McSweeny
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

3:30 PM Panel Discussion

Laura Moy
Deputy Director, Georgetown Center for Privacy and Technology

Tom Struble
Policy Counsel, Tech Freedom

Terrell McSweeny
Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission


Sarah Morris
Director of Open Internet Policy, New America's Open Technology Institute

Related Topics
Broadband Privacy