Comcast tells FCC that pay-for-privacy ISP provisions are ‘perfectly acceptable’

Comcast has told the FCC that it’s within its rights to charge more to broadband customers who choose not to be targeted for advertising.

"A bargained-for exchange of information for service is a perfectly acceptable and widely used model throughout the U.S. economy, including the Internet ecosystem, and is consistent with decades of legal precedent and policy goals related to consumer protection and privacy," Comcast said in an ex parte filing, which followed a meeting with agency officials last week.

Banning pay-for-privacy pricing models, Comcast added, "would harm consumers by, among other things, depriving them of lower-priced offerings.”

The FCC, Comcast further added, "has no authority to prohibit or limit these types of programs.”

The FCC is weighing a proposal to revamp regulations on what kind of consumer privacy protection is offered by internet service providers.

When the proposal was introduced earlier this year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler conceded that those who opt for more privacy might have to pay more for service. 

However, two weeks ago, a group of Democratic Congressional lawmakers petitioned the FCC, saying such pay-for-privacy models are "counter to our nation's core principle that all Americans have a fundamental right to privacy.” They also said such provisions are unfair to the economically disadvantaged. 

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