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New FCC Privacy Rules Continue to Threaten Consumers

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As previously reported, Jenner & Block Partner Nancy Libin wrote an article for The Hill in September analyzing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed privacy rules for broadband providers, which she called both “anti-consumer” and “anti-competitive.” Ms. Libin recently wrote another article on the topic for The Hill, this time discussing the FCC’s last-minute request to include a prohibition against mandatory arbitration clauses. Ms. Libin examines the call to “slip[] a major restriction on arbitration agreements into the privacy rules,” which she suggests would be “certain to provoke court challenges and put the entire broadband privacy proceeding at risk.” She notes that restricting arbitration would be particularly troubling for consumers because class-action lawyers will be able to lump consumers into giant cases that will generate major legal fees rather than promote timely solutions to the consumers’ problems.  On October 27, the agency adopted the proposed rules without taking any action on mandatory arbitration clauses, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the agency has begun an internal process to address the issue by February of next year. To read the full article, please click here.