As a telecommunications provider, we are obliged to protect what’s called our Customers’ Proprietary Network Information (CPNI). As an Internet Service Provider (ISP), we hold ourselves to those same rules.
Last fall, the FCC created rules to hold ISPs to the same privacy standards that companies like OTELCO are already voluntarily meeting. In the past few weeks, Congress repealed those Internet privacy rules; preventing them from being enacted. As one might imagine, we’ve had lots of questions about how we handle customer Internet privacy since congress took this action.
In simple terms, your Internet privacy on our network has always been and will continue to be preserved under the guidelines of the telecommunications CPNI rules that we’ve followed for years.
Read on for the long version:
OTELCO Protecting Our Customers’ Privacy Online
Recent action in Washington to repeal rules proposed by the FCC last year regarding the protection of consumers’ information online has caused some concern that personal information from OTELCO customers will now be shared or sold. These concerns are understandable, but unfounded.
The truth is our customers are no less protected now than they were before. None of the FCC’s rules were in place when Congress voted to stop them. Rather, Congress stopped the rules from taking effect, in large part to address regulatory imbalance and customer confusion that the FCC measures would have created. In particular, the FCC’s new, expanded regulations for broadband providers would not have governed applications like Google, Facebook, and Amazon that have access to as much, if not more, consumer information. By taking its steps, Congress has put us on a path to have customers protected by a strong, uniform set of broadband privacy standards no matter who holds their data.
So, in the interim, what protections are in place right now?
Nearly two years ago, the FCC issued an advisory to telecommunications providers like OTELCO directing them to abide by “core customer privacy protections.” This guidance remains in effect today and was not affected by the repeal of so-called privacy rules.
In addition, OTELCO and other broadband providers have committed to a set of voluntary, comprehensive privacy principles.
- Transparency, providing customers with clear, comprehensible, accurate and continuously available information;
- Consumer choice, offering customers the choice to decide how sensitive information might be used;
- Data security, following federal and industry guidelines to protect user information; and
- Data breach notifications, to notify customers, law enforcement, regulators and other parties right away about potentially harmful breaches.
It is important to us that our customers know that recent action by our government did not reduce or eliminate measures in place to protect the privacy of customer information. OTELCO is working with our industry partners to ensure best practices are created to ensure the protection of consumer data, and as a local company with a strong commitment to our communities, we have a vested interest in seeing that those protections are followed.
More information in our weekly blog.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Customer Care if you still have questions/