Luján Urges Internet Service Providers to Take Action to Protect User Privacy
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, sent a letter to internet service providers regarding their use of costumer data, and questioning their troubling practices of collecting, sharing, and profiting from Americans’ private and sensitive information.
“Currently, broadband providers operate in a gray area, free from oversight,” said Senator Luján. “American families expect a level of privacy when they use the internet to go to work, to school, or to visit with their doctor. That’s often not the case, and the problem is getting worse. We must hold broadband and telecom companies to the highest possible standards when it comes to protecting Americans’ data online. I hope these companies will be transparent about their policies by fully responding to my questions, and that they will support national privacy legislation that ensures user data is never abused.”
Together, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast Xfinity, Charter, Lumen, and Cox provide mobile internet to over 98 percent of America. In today’s letters sent these seven companies, Luján asked them to provide information regarding:
- Consumer consent to data collection;
- Data collection practices;
- Third party affiliates and their role in data collection and advertising;
- Selling private data information for profit, and more.
This letter is in response to a staff report released by the Federal Trade Commission in October of 2021. The report found that ISPs amass large pools of sensitive consumer data, using the data in ways consumers do not expect. Moreover, the report found that the intrusion on privacy is akin to the practices of large advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google.
Senator Luján has worked consistently to protect Americans online by demanding greater transparency from the nation’s top tech and telecom firms. As Chairman of Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, Senator Luján has held hearings on the importance of resilient broadband networks, the use of broadband for telemedicine, and the algorithmic-based advertising model that prioritizes profits over harms to consumers. Luján is the lead sponsor of the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, a critical piece of legislation that would address the dangers of online platforms’ use of technology to manipulate user experiences.