The Federal Communications Commission will hold a workshop on April 28 to explore its role in protecting the privacy of broadband Internet access users.

The Commission’s recent net neutrality order applied certain privacy requirements to broadband access providers, including Section 222 of the Communications Act.  That statute requires telecommunications carriers to protect the confidentiality of customer information and restricts their ability to use, disclose or permit access to customers’ individually identifiable customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”).   While the Commission applied the statute to broadband providers, it did not apply its rules implementing the statute to broadband providers.  Those rules were not “well suited to broadband Internet access service,” the order said.  It chose to forebear on the rules, because the rules “focus[] on addressing problems that historically arise regarding voice service,” the order said.

The April workshop could be the first step toward creating new rules for how broadband providers handle CPNI.  The workshop will start at 10 a.m. at the FCC’s headquarters in Washington D.C. and will be led by staff.  The Commission will also provide audio and video coverage of the workshop on the FCC’s web site, at www.fcc.gov/live.  In its statement announcing the workshop, the Commission suggested it would also address the extent to which the Commission can apply a “harmonized privacy framework across various services.”