Privacy Groups Urge Obama Administration To Preserve Existing Telecommunications Privacy Protections


Today, Public Knowledge filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration urging the Obama Administration not to support any privacy legislation that would eliminate important legal protections for telecommunications metadata. Public Knowledge was joined on the comments by Benton Foundation, Center for Digital Democracy, Common Cause, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, Free Press, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, U.S. PIRG,  and World Privacy Forum.

The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
"There have been a number of recent efforts in Congress to create new legal limitations on the amount of telecommunications metadata that the government can collect from Americans. Public Knowledge supports those efforts, but we want to ensure that when the government runs up against legal barriers that prevent it from legally compelling the disclosure of certain information, it cannot just purchase that information instead.

"Right now, the Communications Act provides strong protection in this area, preventing carriers from selling customer information without customer consent. The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to enforce that provision, and has rules in place that are clear and comprehensive, not only detailing when carriers can sell information and what sort of consent they need from their customers to do so, but also setting standards for the maintenance of private customer information and requiring that carriers notify customers when they suffer a data breach."

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