Initial Comments are due on May 27, 2016 regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released last month by the FCC in its broadband privacy proceeding. The rules proposed in the NPRM have already been the subject of contentions discussions throughout the federal government and the communications industry. Those discussions included a hearing earlier this month before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary – Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Witnesses at the hearing included Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Pai of the FCC, and Chairwoman Ramirez and Commissioner Ohlhausen of the FTC.

During the hearing and throughout the general public discourse regarding the proposed rules, it has often been evident that politicians and consumers alike have many misconceptions about the issues and legal concepts involved. However, initial comments already filed at the time of this post indicate that a broad and diverse sample of participants in the Internet economy understand the issues and oppose adoption of the rules.

Corporations and trade associations representing large and small ISPs, advertisers, consumer electronics manufacturers and content providers have all filed comments opposing adoption of the proposed rules. Common themes throughout many of the comments are that the FCC is overstepping its jurisdiction and the proposed rules are overly prescriptive. Corporations and consumers should be paying close attention to this proceeding. The potential outcome is likely to have a significant effect on how business may be conducted on the Internet.