The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation that would require data brokers to be accountable and transparent about the information they collect and sell concerning consumers. The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) would prohibit data brokers from collecting or soliciting consumer information in deceptive ways. It also would allow consumers to: (1) access and correct their information to help ensure maximum possible accuracy; and (2) opt out of having their information collected and sold by data brokers for marketing purposes. The law would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC would also have the power to impose civil penalties on data brokers that violate consumers’ privacy and trust.
In December 2013, the Commerce Committee released a report of its investigation into the multibillion-dollar industry. The report revealed the breadth and scope of the sensitive data, including financial, health, and other personal information, that is routinely amassed by data brokers on consumers without their knowledge or consent. The Committee also held a hearing on Dec. 18, 2013, to examine the privacy and accountability concerns with the industry.
Comcast -Time Warner Merger
Both Senators Rockefeller and Markey released statements about the proposed Comcast – Time Warner Cable deal.
Senator Rockefeller released the following statement:
“The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable raises serious questions that deserve thorough scrutiny. Of course, the threshold question must be whether the creation of an even larger video and broadband juggernaut results in greater choice and lower rates for consumers. This has not been my experience with previous mergers of this size. And at a time when the future of video is increasingly online, policymakers have to weigh very carefully the ability of big companies to leverage their control of the Internet to shape how Americans access and receive content and to limit new consumer-centric video services.”
Senator Markey said:
“This transaction should be evaluated through the lens of what is best for fostering competition, ensuring choice in broadband, cable and telephone, and protecting consumers in Massachusetts and across America. I look forward to Congressional hearings on this proposed deal.”