Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Build privacy into national broadband policy says CDT

rural-electrification.jpgThe Center for Democracy and Technology filed two sets of comments (1, 2) to the Federal Communications Commission regarding privacy concerns and expectations that will come along with a national broadband policy that they are currently stumbling towards.
The FCC says that policies "...must promote technological neutrality, competition, investment, and innovation to ensure that broadband service providers have sufficient incentive to develop and offer such products and services."
The CDT thinks we need to go much further than that "[F]ully protecting consumer privacy interests online requires a rigorous mix of self-regulation, enforcement of existing law, development of technical tools and standards, and enactment of new legislation."
Here is their list of six recommendations to help create and maintain a thriving Internet.
1) The National Broadband Plan should release an updated version of FIPs to guide privacy practices by the federal government and industry.
2) The National Broadband Plan should recommend enactment of a federal baseline consumer privacy law.
3) The National Broadband Plan should recommend updates to the Privacy Act of 1974.
4) The National Broadband Plan should promote the incorporation of Privacy by Design principles into both innovation and business and government practices.
5) Encourage a marketplace of privacy protective, user-centric decentralized identity providers.
6) The National Broadband Plan should encourage innovation and consumer protection in third-party applications.
Meanwhile, with 49 days until the National Broadband Plan, it's unclear what the plan has in store for rural, tribal and disabled segments of the US population. Schools and libraries receiving federal Universal Service Fund money are still on the hook to install filters and censor internet traffic. Reading the comments on the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program is terribly poignant. My local nearly-bankrupt telco explains why providing broadband to rural New England is so difficult.

Guestblogger Jessamyn West is a moderator at MetaFilter and a library technologist in Central Vermont who blogs at librarian.net

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