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FCC was addressing real privacy problems (but not any more)

I have been impatient with people who think that inform-and-consent is the end all of privacy. One of the actual greatest dangers is personally identifiable information being stolen from service providers by hackers. This is a real privacy harm. I have not gone into the details of the FCC’s decision and its competitive implications. But it’s worth knowing they were paying attention to real privacy harms.

After a 2-to-1, party-line vote by the Republican-led commission, Ajit Pai, the chairman, announced that a portion of privacy rules passed in October would be temporarily stayed.

The rules, which were to take effect on Thursday, required high-speed internet providers like AT&T and Comcast to secure their customers’ data against hacking and other unauthorized uses.

Mr. Pai, in a sign that additional swipes at privacy rules may be in store, also said the commission should not be engaged in any policing of broadband providers over online privacy. He said the Federal Trade Commission should instead oversee the broadband and web industries.

“All actors in the online space should be subject to the same rules, enforced by the same agency,” Mr. Pai said in a joint statement with Maureen K. Ohlhausen, the trade commission’s acting chairwoman.

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