FCC Rule Changes Repealed Before They Were Enacted

Back in November we talked about the FCC rule changes regarding Internet privacy and we explained the Telecommunications Act. We concentrated on how the act protects the privacy of telephone customers’ network proprietary information (CPNI).  Providers like OTELCO were minimally effected by the FCC rule changes because they strongly reflected the existing Telecommunication Act rules.  The ISPs who are not bound by telephone privacy requirements were the most effected by the change.

FCC?  FTC? – Whose Rules Should They Be Anyway?

FCC Rule changesOne point that we did make is that your ISP – OTELCO or any other — protects your privacy on its network, either voluntarily or by Telecommunication Act requirements.  Conversely, entities like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other social media or e-commerce outlets have no such obligation.  They are subject to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversight rather than that of the FCC.  When we tackled this topic last fall, the FTC was essentially silent on Internet consumer privacy.

There has been much ado about some recent action in Washington regarding the FCC rule changes.  The buzz is that the legislature overturned the rules when, in actuality, Congress simply stopped them from taking effect.  The legislature felt that the proposed FCC rule changes actually created confusion among consumers, particularly because there were no privacy protections on the open Internet.

One might conclude that this recent action in Washington is the first step in engaging the FTC to develop rules for the protection of consumer privacy on the open Internet.  What, if anything, the FTC will do remains a to be seen.

What we can tell you is that, for OTELCO, nothing has changed.  We have never, and will never abuse your proprietary information.

When you do hit the open Internet, do your best to protect yourself. The SysAdmin, Audit, Network, and Security (SANS) Institute offer some great statistics and tips on password or passphrase security.  Our Director of Network Operations, Jason Gay, shared the following from SANS April newsletter:

  • The average time it takes to crack a 7 character password is less a third of a second
  • By adding an 8th character to the password length it takes about 5 hours to crack
  • A ninth character puts it at just over 5 days
  • 10 characters takes nearly 4 months to crack
  • 11 characters could take up to a decade
  • A 12 character password might be good for over 200 years

Using an alpha-numeric password is even more secure:

  • The password “123456789” can be cracked in .29 seconds
  • The password “A23456789” would take almost 40 years to crack

Another method to proactively protect your privacy is to employ the privacy settings available from the places you visit on the open Internet.  Kim Komando offers some great tips on how to make the most of them.

Read more on this topic in our OTELCO Local blog.