To Comprehensively Address the Digital Divide, Americans’ Privacy and Security Online Must be Protected
We remain encouraged by ongoing bipartisan interest in a modern approach to protecting consumer privacy online. As the Biden Administration and Congress continue efforts to deliver infrastructure investments that would help more Americans get online, it is more important than ever that they be balanced with robust and modern consumer privacy protections.
"Concerns about privacy and security online keep too many Americans offline and addressing these issues will be a critical component of the comprehensive solution needed to close the digital divide. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to develop a national privacy framework that empowers and informs consumers, giving them confidence that their personal information is being protected no matter where they go across the entire internet ecosystem."
One of our most important responsibilities as a connectivity provider is to protect our customers’ online privacy and security, which is why Charter has long called for a robust federal framework that gives consumers opt-in control to protect their privacy online. We value and rely on our customers’ trust and loyalty, and we want them to be confident that their personal data is protected. It is important both for our customers and for the future growth of connectivity.
As federal, state, and local governments make record investments in broadband infrastructure, it is time to ensure consumers can engage online with confidence and we are encouraged by recent calls for federal privacy legislation, hearings, and administrative action to advance privacy protections in the near term. Specifically, we support the sentiments of Senator Blumenthal and eight members of Congress who recently urged Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan to undertake a rulemaking process to protect consumer privacy. Importantly, they called for opt-in consent for the use of personal data because the FTC has the expertise to oversee and implement comprehensive privacy rules that could be applied consistently to protect consumers’ data regardless of where they go across the internet ecosystem.
"We believe that a national standard for data privacy and security is urgently needed to protect consumers, reinforce civil rights, and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity."
Charter remains ready to work with Members of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, industry partners, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to develop a bipartisan, consensus path to achieve comprehensive privacy reform that establishes a strong federal framework based on the principles of transparency and consumer control. This framework should seek to empower and inform consumers through rules that address five core principles:
- Control | Opt-in consent would ensure consumers are empowered to have a meaningful, purposeful, and clear choice for each use of their data.
- Transparency | Data collection practices – how companies collect, use, and maintain consumers’ data – should be clear, concise, easy-to-understand, and readily available.
- Parity | The same protection is applied consistently across the entire internet ecosystem, no matter what the user is doing, who is collecting it, or whether a service is free or paid.
- Uniformity | Regardless of where you live or travel, consumers are protected by one set of rules.
- Security | Strong safeguards (including administrative, technical, and physical safeguards) to protect consumers against data breaches or other unauthorized access.
All companies doing business online should be required to tell consumers about their privacy practices and obtain their affirmative consent before using or sharing consumers’ data and this information should be concise, easy-to-find, and understandable. Ensuring consumers have control over how their personal data is used and shared is a critical component of the comprehensive solutions needed to close the Digital Divide.
To connect 100% of people online, while at the same time allowing companies to innovate and provide improved services, taking action to implement modern rules that protect against 21st Century privacy concerns are necessary to ensure people feel safe, confident, and able to take advantage of all that the internet has to offer – now and for years to come.