Letter to the editor: Regulate to expand broadband while guarding privacy
We support policies and regulations that spur the investment in and build out of high-speed broadband networks for the benefit of Maine residents, businesses and visitors. The broadband ecosystem is a major contributor to Maine’s economic growth and provides the state with tremendous benefits and opportunities. But these benefits come with a responsibility on the part of broadband providers to protect the privacy of their customers.
We raise this issue because an April 23 story in your paper suggests that consumers were left with very few privacy protections when President Trump signed a Congressional Review Act to repeal Federal Communications Commission privacy rules. This is hardly the case.
Broadband providers in Maine and across America have strong track records of protecting customers’ personal data and privacy. They take this commitment seriously and have longstanding policies and practices in place to ensure compliance with federal state privacy laws and regulations.
The Congressional Review Act did not change or weaken these laws: Those privacy protections remain firmly in place under federal regulation and enforcement. Interestingly, the FCC privacy rules at the center of this national debate applied only to broadband providers and not to big Web companies like Google and Facebook, two of the biggest collectors and sellers of consumer data to advertisers. As a result, the FCC’s privacy rules would have been bad for consumers, leading to confusion about when and to which companies the rules applied to.
Going forward, we support a regulatory environment that guards against government overreach and allows broadband providers to continue to contribute to local Maine economies by investing in infrastructure, expanding their networks and enhancing the services provided to Maine residents and businesses. Dana Connors president, Maine State Chamber of Commerce