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Politico: Dingell: FCC, broadcasters must answer privacy questions about new broadcast standard

Politico: Dingell: FCC, broadcasters must answer privacy questions about new broadcast standard

Washington, DC, November 13, 2017

Rep. Debbie Dingell is raising privacy questions about broadcasters' planned transition to a new TV standard, up for an FCC vote at the agency's Nov. 16 meeting.

"It is my understanding that the new standard also contemplates targeted advertisements that would be 'relevant to you and what you actually might want to see,'" Dingell (D-Mich.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote in letters sent today to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith . "This raises questions about how advertisers and broadcasters will gather the demographic information from consumers which are necessary to do targeted advertisements, and what privacy protections will be in place for consumers."

The word "privacy" is not mentioned in the FCC draft order on the ATSC 3.0 transition standard, Dingell said, criticizing what she called a "troubling pattern of indifference" at the agency. She asked Pai if the FCC is coordinating with the FTC on privacy issues.

Dingell also suggested consumers would be forced to replace TVs, noting the coming broadcast standard will not be compatible with TVs already in use.

Spokespersons for Pai and NAB didn't immediately comment.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn tweeted that the letter raises "important questions" for consumer privacy, with many "unanswered as @FCC contemplates moving forward."

The Independent Television Group, representing TV stations in smaller markets, wrote the FCC today lauding the ATSC 3.0 draft order. The group suggested the agency will need to make decisions later on carriage rights to help stations serving smaller markets.

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