By Tim Sparapani:
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, there was plenty of high-tech gadgetry on display — from virtual-reality goggles to the latest incarnation of the hoverboard. But one of the hottest tickets was an hour-long conversation with a couple of D.C. wonks.
CES President Gary Shapiro hosted back-to-back fireside chats with Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) Chairman Tom Wheeler and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to discuss consumer privacy. It’s a topic that has tech executives grinding their teeth in frustration.
Thanks to a recent memorandum of understanding triggered by the Open Internet Order (“Order”) and signed by the two agencies, there are now two cops on the privacy beat.
The order redrew privacy turf when the FCC finalized it this spring. The main purpose of the order was to classify the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act in the interest of cementing net neutrality. What most of the mainstream press didn’t pick up on at the time was that the order also greatly expanded the FCC’s authority to investigate and enforce perceived privacy violations by broadband companies.