The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote this month on a declaratory ruling stating that existing rules governing telephone carriers’ use of subscribers’ personal information also apply to data collected on mobile devices.
Existing regulations restrict telecommunications carriers’ ability to use or disclose Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) that a carrier obtains in the course of providing service to the customer. CPNI includes information such as the locations where calls are made, the numbers called, the length of calls, and other information contained in a customer’s bill.
Carriers may use CPNI to provide the services customers have purchased and to market similar or related services offered by the carrier — for example, a carrier can use CPNI to market its other long-distance plans or add-on features to a long-distance subscriber. However, the rules require carriers to obtain customers’ consent (either opt-in or opt-out) before using CPNI for most other purposes, such as marketing wireless service to long-distance customers or sharing the information with third parties.
In a Public Notice released June 6, one of the items on the agenda for the FCC’s June 27 Open Meeting is consideration of a declaratory ruling “clarifying that wireless carriers that collect, or direct the collection of, [CPNI] on mobile devices must adhere to statutory and regulatory CPNI requirements in protecting that information.”
The rules still would apply only to carriers, not to independent mobile-app developers, although separate mobile-privacy efforts are ongoing in Congress, among industry and consumer stakeholders, and at the state level.
The June 27 meeting will be the first led by Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.