StateScoop Covers Verizon's Attempt to Preempt State Internet Privacy Laws

StateScoop - October 31, 2017

Verizon asks FCC to preempt states on Internet privacy

Written by Colin Wood

Verizon is at it again, not just in unsubscribing rural users, but in undermining the Internet privacy protections that states passed in the wake of Congress' repeal of the regulations that kept telecommunications giants from selling your data to advertisers.

StateScoop's Colin Wood reached out to Christopher Mitchell to discuss this trend and the power of monopoly corporations in our economy.

Here are Christopher's contributions:

The FCC may have preemption authority over states on some issues, but this isn't one of them, Rinehart said.

Federal authority notwithstanding, the creation of a patchwork of internet privacy laws could create a more complex landscape for policy and enforcement. If privacy laws vary depending on the user's exact location, it would require the collection of geolocation data, which can be spoofed and is not always accurate.

Verizon borrows language from federal code to underscore its argument, saying that its request is one that serves “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the internet.”

And while Rinehart conceded that there is something to Verizon's claim of a potential patchwork of state and local privacy regulations, others say this is simply a case of the states taking back the protections they were owed from the start.

Big telecom companies have ignored "overwhelming demand" for privacy protections for consumers for years, Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, told StateScoop in an email.

"Given how many times Verizon, among others, have violated the trust of their customers, it is inevitable that local and state governments will respond to popular demand to reinstate basic protections," Mitchell said. "The big cable and telephone companies have made their bed — now they get to lie in it."


Read the full story here.