SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell announced on February 22 that his Municipal Fiber Blue Ribbon Panel released its third report, recommending strict adherence to net neutrality, privacy and security provisions for San Francisco’s future citywide fiber network.
“Our citywide fiber network should mirror San Francisco values and provide a digital sanctuary city,” said Mayor Farrell. “While the federal government continues to deliver devastating decisions regarding the internet, I believe it is up to local communities to fight back – it’s the only way.”
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, the report suggests that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) using San Francisco’s citywide fiber network adhere to net neutrality protections and standards. That means as a condition of using the network, ISPs should:
-Not block any particular sites, content, or applications.
-No throttling any sites, content, or applications.
-No paid prioritization – an ISP cannot favor itself or commercial partners by creating fast lanes for some content while relegating others to slow lanes.
For network security, the report advises policies and practices adopted to protect the assets of the network, including the infrastructure, software, and data.
On protecting consumer privacy, the report recommends that ISPs:
-Cannot use, disclose, sell or permit access to a customer’s personal information unless the customer provides prior opt-in consent.
-Cannot refuse to serve or penalize customers who choose not to give consent.
-Must proactively give customers a mechanism for opting out of any use of their data to advertise any “communications-related” services.
-Must get affirmative opt-in consent for use and disclosure of “de-identified” data.
The report also indicates that the city of San Francisco deserves an open access network that requires private operators to provide equal access to all lawful content; enforces mandates for privacy and consent; and ensures robust procedures to protect residents from overreaching, extra-legal requests. The panel suggests a community-driven process to further finalize the recommendations.
“The Federal government has been undermining your online privacy and your ability to speak and learn online,” said Kit Walsh, a Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties organization based in San Francisco. “It’s up to communities to protect the future of the Internet as a platform that empowers all residents. San Francisco can lead the way.”
“At a time when the federal government has abdicated its responsibility to protect internet users, it is vitally important for city governments to engage,” said Eric Null, Policy Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute. “San Francisco is leading the way by building a network with strong net neutrality, privacy, and security requirements baked into its design. We commend the city for undertaking this project and look forward to seeing the network flourish.”
Mayor Farrell is aiming to lead a community-driven effort on the report recommendations to garner additional input. He is in favor of the numerous recommendations made by the panel’s experts.