Warren Questions FCC About Corporate Influence on CSRIC Panel

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking about corporate influence on the commission’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) is influenced by corporate interests and industry insiders.

CSRIC provides recommendations to the FCC about optimal security and reliability of communications systems including telecommunications, media, and public safety.

In a letter also signed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Sen. Warren cites an investigation by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) that found “more than half of [CSRIC’s] members represented private sector interests, either as a direct employee of a for-profit company or via affiliation with an industry trade group.”

POGO’s study included reviewing the affiliations of 183 people who had served at some point in the advisory group since 2011. The group found that 124 members represented industry—or 68 percent. Of the CSRIC’s current 22 members, 13 are from the private sector, according to POGO.

“Having the FCC’s policy-making process rely on input from individuals employed by, or affiliated with, the corporations that it is tasked with overseeing is the very definition of regulatory capture,” Sen. Warren wrote. “The FCC should be working on behalf of American consumers, not giant telecommunications companies,” she said.

According to CSRIC’s charter, filed in 2011, “members will be selected from among consumer or community organizations or other non-profit entities, and the private sector to balance the expertise and viewpoints that are necessary to effectively address the issues to be considered.”

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