Big Telecom might have eyes fixed on taking the wrecking ball to the state level and Verizon is leading the charge. Last week the company filed a white paper with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lamenting the states’ privacy regulations.
Verizon said that it is upset with the countless hoops it must jump through due to states not having consistent privacy regulations. In the paperwork, Verizon said that
state and local laws governing broadband Internet access service pose a real and significant threat to restoring uniform regulatory framework for broadband service.
While uniform regulations may be optimal. There was a time when there was a resemblance of likeness in the regulations. Last spring, the Republican-led Congress changed all that.
The changes allowed every State and locality to chart its own course for regulating broadband. Verizon views this as a recipe for disaster. Mainly because it would impose localized and likely inconsistent burdens on an inherently interstate service. It would also drive up costs and would frustrate federal efforts to encourage investment.
As a result, if Verizon, Comcast and the rest have their way, your previously private information would be available to the highest bidder.
This will include financial information and Social Security. It would even include your browsing history and online chats. Craig Aaron, CEO of the Free Press Action Fund said:
They voted to take away the privacy rights of Americans just so a few companies could increase profits.
While many politicians are also infamous for dancing on issues the current administration has raised it to an art form.
Two-years-ago FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s said:
the commission simply does not have the power to do this. He also said that it disrupts the balance of power between the federal government and state governments. Both of these lie at the core of a constitutional government.
Pai’s apparent flip-flop aside has been described as ironic. The GOP party, which has long prided itself on minimizing federal interference in commerce and maximizing states’ rights, would stoop to destroying individual states’ rights now.
So, why the obvious backtracking on established party beliefs? The answer may be as simple as money.
Just one example is that if most people were asked which they thought was the most out-there, left-liberal state in the US the answer would probably be California. Many believe that if any state would stand for privacy rights it would be California. Yet California failed to pass on privacy rights this past year in defiance of the FCC. The California bill died in the state legislature because Verizon complained that opting out would burden companies.
This would then impair customer service. It is believed that California is now considering a ballot proposal. The application would do what gutless politicians were afraid to do. But it might all be in vein Big Telecom holds influence in its current appeal. It will be yet another assault on privacy.