Privacy Protections That Put Consumers First

An increasingly important aspect of ensuring that consumers continue to utilize all the services the internet has to offer is making sure that they are confident that their personal information online is protected.

As a leading provider of broadband internet services, Charter values and relies on the trust and loyalty of its more than 28 million residential and business customers. In order to have confidence in their online activities, consumers need to trust that the law gives them the same privacy and security protections regardless of which Internet entity (e.g., search engine, social media site, ISP, advertising company, data broker, etc.) has access to their data or where they go on the Internet. National uniformity is also critical so that consumers know that privacy protections do not depend on where they live, work or travel. With privacy protections that follow internet users wherever they go on the internet, we will better empower and protect consumers while at the same time returning meaningful control to consumers of their personal information.

Privacy Framework

Charter supports the establishment of a new national privacy framework based on the principles of transparency and consumer control that protects consumers no matter where they go on the Internet. All companies doing business online would be required to tell consumers about their privacy practices and obtain their affirmative consent before using or sharing consumers data with limited exceptions. Such an approach better enables consumers to control how their personal data is used and shared, while at the same time allowing companies to innovate and provide improved services.

Specifically, this framework should seek to empower and inform consumers through rules that address five core principles – control, transparency, uniformity, parity and security.

  • The first principle is control. Consumers should be empowered to have meaningful choice for each use of their data. Any legal framework that is ultimately adopted should ensure consumer consent is purposeful, clear and meaningful. That means no more pre-ticked “boxes,” take-it-or-leave-it offers, or other default consents.
  • The second principle is transparency. Consumers should be given the information they need to make an informed decision. Explanations about how companies collect, use and maintain consumers’ data should be clear, concise, easy-to-understand and readily available.
  • The third principle is parity.  Consumers are best served by a uniform framework that is applied consistently across the entire Internet ecosystem not based on who is collecting it, or whether a service is free or paid.
  • The fourth principle is uniformity. For these protections to be effective there should be a single national standard that protects consumers’ online privacy regardless of where they live, work or travel.
  • The fifth principle is security. At Charter we believe privacy is security and security is privacy. Strong data security practices should include administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to personal data, and ensure that these safeguards keep pace with technological development.

Blog Post by Charter CEO Tom Rutledge

In April 2018, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge called for a stronger legal framework to protect consumers’ privacy online explaining it is both the right thing to do and important for the continued growth of the Internet economy.

Read Tom's Blog

Charter Testimony Before Congress and the FTC

In September 2018, Rachel Welch, Charter’s SVP of Policy and External Affairs, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee about Charter’s support for national, uniform privacy legislation that gives consumers better tools to control and protect their information online. Read more.

In April 2019, Welch testified before the Federal Trade Commission about the importance of establishing a strong legal framework that would empower consumers to control how their online personal data is used and shared by building on and strengthening notice and consent. Read her blog on her testimony.