FTC Consumer Protection Director Submits Comment on Privacy Enforcement Implications of FCC’s Proposed Set-Top Box Rulemaking

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Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich filed a comment today with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the FCC’s proposed rulemaking to expand the commercial availability of television set-top boxes for consumers.

In her comment, Rich recommends that if the FCC proceeds with the rulemaking, it should modify the proposed rule to facilitate FTC enforcement actions against third-party set-top box manufacturers that fail to comply with certain consumer privacy protections. 

The comment notes that the proposed rule would require cable and satellite providers to provide access only to third-party set-top box makers that certify to the providers that their products comply with the privacy protections required of the providers themselves. The comment recommends access be limited to third-party set-top box manufacturers that make consumer-facing statements regarding their compliance, which the FTC could enforce pursuant to its authority under the FTC Act.

Rich’s letter also notes the FTC’s extensive history of privacy enforcement.

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