FTC, FCC to Coordinate Online Consumer Protection Efforts After Roll Back of Net Neutrality Rules

By CircleID Reporter

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have announced plans to coordinate efforts for online consumer protection following the adoption of the proposed 'Restoring Internet Freedom Order'. The draft MOU, released on Monday, outlines some ways in which the FCC and FTC propose to work together including:

— "The FCC will review informal complaints concerning the compliance of Internet service providers (ISPs) with the disclosure obligations set forth in the new transparency rule. Those obligations include publicly providing information concerning an ISP's practices with respect to blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and congestion management. Should an ISP fail to make the required disclosures — either in whole or in part — the FCC will take enforcement action."

— "The FTC will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate against ISPs concerning the accuracy of those disclosures, as well as other deceptive or unfair acts or practices involving their broadband services."

— "The FCC and the FTC will broadly share legal and technical expertise, including the secure sharing of informal complaints regarding the subject matter of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The two agencies also will collaborate on consumer and industry outreach and education."

Chris Lewis, Vice President of the consumer group Public Knowledge, says there is no comfort in this announcement from the FTC, calling the agreement an honor system for broadband. "Not only is the FCC eliminating basic net neutrality rules, but it's joining forces with the FTC to say it will only act when a broadband provider is deceiving the public. This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it."

Related topics: Net Neutrality, Policy & Regulation