Last Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rejected a petition from consumer advocates asking the FCC to extend its Open Internet Order by requiring edge providers such as Facebook and Amazon to follow the privacy regulations of Section 222 and to require those edge providers to honor “Do Not Track” requests from consumers. The FCC held in its Open Internet Order that it would apply Section 222 only to broadband Internet access providers that provide Internet services to end users, and not to edge providers. The petition argued that consumers are just as concerned about online tracking by edge providers, and therefore the FCC should impose some rules on edge providers regulating the collection of personal information.
In summarily dismissing the petition without seeking comment on it, the FCC stated that it “has been unequivocal in declaring that it has no intent to regulate edge providers.” The FCC also reiterated that, earlier this year when it adopted the Open Internet Order, it held that the move to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act “was not ‘regulating the Internet, per se, or any Internet applications or content.’” Rather, the reclassification involved only the transmission component of Internet access service, and therefore did not include edge providers. The FCC concluded that the petition was “inconsistent with the Commission’s articulation of the effect of its reclassification of [broadband Internet access service] and the scope of the privacy practices it stated that it intends to address pursuant to that reclassification.”