Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see "More Information" at the end of each article.
 

Postings

What’s more annoying than robocalls? We could soon find out.
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission opposing its proposal to allow private companies and political organizations to send automated messages into consumers’ voicemail inboxes without causing the cellphones themselves to ring. The proposal would move “ringless voicemail” robocalling technology from a regulatory gray area to legal fair game, opening the floodgates for telemarketers and political organizations to inundate Americans’ voicemails with messages hawking products, services, and candidates for office.

Unnecessary FCC rule continues to threaten consumers' privacy
Consumer Action joined coalition advocates in urging the Federal Communications Commission to repeal a rule that requires phone companies to retain the detailed call records of their customers, saying it’s unnecessary and threatens consumer privacy. The rule, known as the data retention mandate, is unduly burdensome and ineffectual and poses a threat to American consumers’ privacy and security.

A push for regulatory leadership that is unimpeachably independent
Donald Trump ran on "draining the swamp" of corruption in Washington, DC. Yet, as president, he is working to install a revolving-door government run by representatives of the big businesses our government is supposed to be regulating. In a letter to the Democratic Senate leadership, coalition advocates remind senators that the need for public minded watchdogs has never been greater. The American people deserve voices on a diverse collection of independent agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, that are independent of excessive corporate influence.

Republicans want to kill FCC’s consumer privacy protections
In an attempt to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) landmark internet privacy rules, the FCC’s new republican chairman, Ajit Pai, will hear comments on petitions for the Commission to suspend and ultimately rescind new privacy rules from broadband providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. The rule would have required these internet service providers to take more stringent steps to protect consumers' personal data. Privacy advocates, including Consumer Action, denounce the attempt to weaken the rule, arguing that consumers’ information will be more vulnerable to breaches and unauthorized use. As it stands, the rule will provide vital consumer privacy protections that will help ensure consumers have choice, transparency, and security.

Children’s advocates oppose attempts to revoke internet privacy rules
Consumer Action and a coalition of children's advocates have filed a comment opposing petitions that ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke its broadband privacy rules. The coalition urged the FCC to retain rules that treat children's data, web browsing histories, and app usage data as sensitive and to retain opt-in requirements for all categories of sensitive information. Advocates previously urged the FCC to establish comprehensive safeguards for consumer privacy, to ban pay-for-privacy schemes, and to prohibit mandatory arbitration.

Requiring mobile passwords is a direct assault on fundamental rights
The new Department of Homeland Security proposal that requires non-citizens disclose their social media passwords and frequently visited websites would enable border officials to invade people’s privacy by examining years of private emails, texts, and messages. It would expose travelers and everyone in their social networks, including potentially millions of U.S. citizens, to excessive, unjustified scrutiny. Consumer and privacy advocates joined together in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to condemn this invasive proposal. Not only does this requirement fail to increase the security of U.S. citizens, it’s a direct assault on their fundamental rights and sets a horrible global precedent.

Facial-recognition programs being used without safeguards
Consumer Action was one of fifty national civil rights, civil liberties, faith, and privacy organizations that sent a letter to the Justice Department urging it to investigate the increasing use and impact of face recognition by police. The letter comes amid mounting evidence that the technology is violating the rights of millions of Americans and having a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

A checklist for organizations dealing with data breaches
Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has released a new checklist to guide companies and organizations when considering using third-party identity theft monitoring services.

FCC’s proposed privacy rules provide important consumer protections
Broadband internet providers have access to massive amounts of browsing data, which can reveal sensitive personal information regarding the user’s lifestyle, health and and finances. Given the limited choice of internet providers, consumers looking to compare privacy standards are at a disadvantage. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering rules that would fill a critical gap in the patchwork of U.S. privacy laws by giving consumers meaningful control over the ways in which their data can be used and disclosed by broadband internet service providers. The FCC’s proposed rules would require customers to opt-in to most uses of their data that are not directly related to the services to which they have subscribed. These proposed regulations would be a big step in protecting consumers’ online privacy and should not be weakened by industry groups looking to make a profit at the expense of their customers.

Social media surveillance proposal would prove ineffective and violates privacy rights
The Department of Homeland Security's proposed policy to collect information on the social media profiles of foreign travelers violates the rights of travelers and their American friends, colleagues and family members. Coalition advocates wrote to the Department of Homeland Security opposing the Customs and Border Protection policy and argued that the rule change would do little to enhance national security and would open the door to greater spying on Americans.

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