FCC Requests Comment on EPIC Broadband Label Privacy Proposal

January 10, 2023

The Federal Communications Commission highlighted a key EPIC proposal to strengthen Broadband Nutrition Labels in its recent Proposed Rule on Empowering Broadband Consumers Through Transparency. The Proposed Rule was published in December alongside a (for now) Final Rule.

As initially proposed, the Privacy section of the consumer labels would only contain a link to the broadband provider’s privacy policy. Noting that privacy policies are notoriously lengthy and difficult-to-understand, and that consumers are unlikely to click through a link to read a privacy policy, EPIC urged the Commission to add notices to the label that explain simply to consumers whether more information is collected or used about consumers than is necessary to provide the service the consumer is purchasing, consumer data is shared with third parties, and consumers may opt out of these data practices. Other commenters concerned about privacy similarly suggested more robust notices in the privacy section of the label.

Although the Commission declined to implement any changes to the privacy section of the label in its current Final Rule, in its Proposed Rule, the Commission asked: “The Commission seeks comment on whether to continue to include a link to the service provider’s current privacy policy in the label instead of including any detailed privacy information in the label itself. Commenters should discuss whether the Commission should require providers to affirmatively state, in addition to providing their privacy policy, whether the provider collects or uses consumer data for reasons other than providing broadband service, and if this is shared with third parties.”

EPIC has long advocated for consumer privacy protections in broadband services and regularly files comments with the FCC.

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