Pending Legislation Could Boost FTC Net Power

As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to lick its wounds following a recent court loss to Comcast, a provision could emerge from financial overhaul legislation that would boost the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) governing ability over the Internet.

The Washington Post reports that a current version of regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House would, “allow the FTC to issue rules on a fast track and permit the agency to impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers.”

The Post notes that, while such a provision is absent from current legislation before the Senate, “some observers expect the measure to be included when the House and Senate versions are combined.”

Why some groups believe the FTC’s power should be expanded:

Consumer interest groups, however, want to give the FTC greater clout in overseeing Web-related issues. They say online advertisers are gathering personal data about consumers and potentially abusing that information with little federal oversight.

In the FCC’s court loss to Comcast, over the latter’s treatment of peer-to-peer network traffic, a court ruled that the FCC “has failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast’s Internet service to any ‘statutorily mandated responsibility.’”

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    Thad says:

    Hm.  First I’ve heard of this but intuitively it makes good sense.  I think a government body definitely needs to impose net neutrality, but I’ve built up a serious distrust of the FCC as a media regulating body given the unreasonable censorship it’s imposed on TV and radio content.

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