Pai to Remain as Strong Leader of the FCC

October 4, 2017

The Senate reconfirmed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to a new five-year term earlier this week. Chairman Pai has been serving as head of the agency since January, when he was selected by President Trump as the Administration’s top regulator of the communications industry. Prior to this role, he served as an FCC Commissioner under an appointment from President Obama. The FCC oversees interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

When former Chairman Tom Wheeler moved forward with the FCC Open Internet Order in 2015, broadband internet access service (BIAS) was reclassified as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. This means that broadband providers no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which had previously overseen those entities. The main implication of this action was that the FCC was now in the position of crafting its own privacy regulation specifically for broadband providers, singling out these entities as separate from all others which are overseen by the FTC. Chairman Pai has always strongly supported the viewpoint that the FTC is the best regulatory body to enforce against online consumer privacy violations. This has been ANA’s position as well. He even coauthored an op-ed in the Washington Post with current FTC Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen echoing these points. The privacy rules that the FCC crafted were overly broad and would have resulted in onerous new requirements for all companies that advertised online. ANA was very pleased when, in early 2017, these rules were overturned by Congress and President Trump.

ANA looks forward to working with Chairman Pai and the other FCC Commissioners to restore balance to the online ecosystem, and to ensure strong online privacy safeguards for consumers while enabling the digital economy to thrive and provide innumerable benefits for both the U.S. and world at large.

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