Understanding Gen Z: A Comprehensive Look at America’s Youngest Adults. Download

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House Appropriations Bill Takes Aim at FCC Rules, Policies

With the House slated to begin consideration of its fiscal 2017 funding bill for financial services and general government, FCC watchers are keeping an eye on several tech and telecom policy riders aimed at overhauling or blocking certain agency rules and operations.

One notable amendment, offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would prohibit the FCC from implementing or enforcing privacy rules for internet service providers. The agency in March advanced a proposal to establish such rules for ISPs, a move that would eventually put the FCC in the position of privacy cop alongside the Federal Trade Commission.

Separate from the amendments, the underlying bill text of H.R. 5485 would bar the FCC from enforcing its 2015 net neutrality rules until several court cases have ended, including the appeals process. In the biggest case to date, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the FCC. Two other court challenges, from Alamo Broadband Inc. and CenturyLink, are still pending.

The bill would bar the agency from implementing or adopting any rules in its cable set-top box proceeding without conducting an impact study and reviewing industry input to that study first. It also would require the FCC to publicly publish all rules that are up for votes at least 21 days beforehand.

Additionally, the FCC would be prohibited from directly or indirectly regulating broadband internet service rates through their net neutrality rule. That provision mimics similar language in a bill the House passed 241-173 in April.

The measure also includes a provision sought by tech and privacy advocates fighting to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that require warrants for the content of online messages stored for more than 180 days or in a cloud service.