In a highly meaningful move, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pulled Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to “unlock” the set-top box from the agenda of today’s Open Meeting , where it was scheduled for a vote. The vote has been delayed indefinitely as fractures among the Commissioners, including among the Democrats, have become more pronounced. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has expressed concern over how the proposal could conflict with copyright law and the FCC’s authority over these agreements, views echoed by Democrats on the Hill. Congressman Cardenas today renewed his call for a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address the content creating community’s copyright concerns.
LGBT Tech has previously filed comments expressing our concerns over some of the issues raised in the set-top box proposal. Specifically, LGBT Tech worries about the data collection permitted in the proposal that will allow third parties to gather, use and disseminate private information about viewers, including sensitive personal and aggregate information from members of the LGBT community. Allowing third parties to unilaterally decide how to bundle, promote, and exhibit “niche” and minority content, such as content created by and for the LGBT community, while at the same time allowing these third parties to “self-certify” their compliance with privacy rules, would put at risk consumers who have come to rely on these rules for the protection of their private data.
LGBT Tech is also concerned that the proposed regulations could have significant unintended consequences for minority and diverse programmers, especially those that focus on underserved communities such as the LGBT community. The FCC’s proposal would result in independent programmers losing control over how their content is presented, potentially resulting in diminished placement, exposure and revenues.
LGBT Tech joins Congressman Cardenas and 64 Congressional Democrats in asking the Commission to pursue a different path in this proceeding and issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing these and other concerns that have been expressed by diverse communities.