Photo of Rafael Reyneri

Rafael Reyneri is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. He is a member of the Communications and Media and Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice groups. Before joining the firm, he clerked for Judge Andre Davis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Margo Brodie on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Prior to law school, he was a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Jared Polis.

Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Facebook v. Duguid, adopting a narrow interpretation of a key definitional term in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and resolving the circuit split we previously described here and here.

In effect, the Supreme Court’s opinion means that to qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) under the TCPA, a device must use a random or sequential number generator; a device that calls a prescribed set of telephone numbers without using such a number generator would stand outside that definition and thus not be regulated by the TCPA.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrows Meaning of TCPA Autodialer Definition

On March 2, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), becoming the second U.S. state to enact a comprehensive privacy law (Nevada has enacted an online privacy law, albeit with a narrower scope).  As we have previously explained, the VCDPA follows the framework established by the Washington Privacy Act.  We recently compared Virginia’s law against other key state privacy frameworks.
Continue Reading Virginia Enacts Comprehensive Privacy Law

Last week, a federal district court in San Francisco dismissed a claim under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”).  The plaintiff alleged that Google had collected personal information without complying with the CCPA’s notice and consent requirements.  The court held that the CCPA’s private right of action does not extend to these provisions of the law.  It appears that this is the first time a court expressly reached this conclusion.  The case is McCoy v. Alphabet, No. 20‑cv‑05427 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 2, 2021).

For context, the plaintiff alleged that Google used an internal program called “Android Lockbox” on its Android operating system to monitor and collect data from Android users as they used non-Google apps on their phones.  The alleged data collection included when and how often these third-party apps were used and the amount of time users spent on the third-party apps.  Based on these allegations, the plaintiff asserted eleven different claims.  Among these was a claim that Google violated the CCPA by failing to comply with the law’s requirements related to notice and consent.
Continue Reading Court Dismisses CCPA Claim Against Google

On December 30, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Report and Order (“Order”) that imposed certain new restrictions on nonmarketing prerecorded calls to residential lines.  The action was in response to Congress’s mandate in the TRACED Act that the FCC reevaluate certain exemptions the agency previously granted regarding the consent requirements for prerecorded calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
Continue Reading FCC Imposes New Requirements on Nonmarketing Prerecorded Calls to Residential Lines

Last week, an Ohio district court found that violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) occurring between 2015 and July 2020 cannot be enforced because the law was unconstitutional at the time.  The case is captioned Lindenbaum v. Realgy, LLC, No. 19-CV-02862 (N.D. Ohio), and the opinion builds on an earlier decision from a Louisiana district court that reached a similar conclusion in Creasy v. Charter Communications Inc., No. 20-CV-01199 (E.D. La.).
Continue Reading Courts Find TCPA Unenforceable for Acts Prior to July 2020

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a proposal to review and potentially revise a number of existing exemptions that the FCC has adopted with respect to certain Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requirements.  The FCC’s review could end up narrowing or eliminating some of these longstanding exemptions, imposing consent requirements or other obligations that today are not required for certain kinds of calls and texts.

Continue Reading FCC Reevaluating Certain TCPA Compliance Exemptions

Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, which addressed the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Although the Court splintered in its reasoning—producing four separate opinions—the justices nevertheless coalesced around two core conclusions: (1) the TCPA’s exception for government debt collection calls is unconstitutional, and (2) the exception can be severed from the rest of the TCPA.  Six justices determined that the TCPA’s government-debt exception violates the First Amendment, and seven justices concluded that the exception is severable from the rest of the statute.  The end result is that the government-debt exception is invalid but the rest of the TCPA—including its general prohibition on automated calls and text messages to mobile numbers—remains intact.  The narrow scope of this ruling suggests that it may have limited practical effect for most parties.

As we previously explained, the TCPA, as originally enacted in 1991, restricts the use of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to transmit calls or texts to mobile numbers without the recipient’s prior express consent (the ATDS prohibition).  In 2015, Congress amended the TCPA to exempt from the ATDS prohibition calls made to collect a debt owed to the United States.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether the government-debt exception violates the First Amendment and, if so, whether the proper remedy is to sever the exception—leaving intact the rest of the TCPA—or invalidate the entire ATDS prohibition.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Invalidates TCPA Government-Debt Exception

Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau released a Declaratory Ruling clarifying the agency’s interpretation of the “Automatic Telephone Dialing System” (an “autodialer” or “ATDS”) definition in the Telephone Consumer Protection (TCPA).  The Ruling clarified that, in the context of a call or text message platform, the definition does not turn on whether the platform is used by others to transmit a large volume of calls or text messages; instead, the relevant inquiry is whether, in this context, the platform is capable of transmitting calls or text messages without a user manually dialing each such call or text message.

The Declaratory Ruling was issued in response to a Petition filed by the P2P Alliance  seeking confirmation that its text messaging platform is not an autodialer and therefore not subject to the TCPA’s ATDS-related consent requirements.  These requirements generally prohibit using an ATDS to call or text a mobile number without the recipient’s consent.  The Petition stated that the text messaging platform at issue required users of the platform “to actively and affirmatively manually dial each recipient’s number and transmit each message one at a time.”  The Petition also stated that recipients generally would provide their consent to receive such messages by providing their mobile numbers to the platform’s users.
Continue Reading FCC Issues Two TCPA Declaratory Rulings, One Clarifying Autodialer Definition

The California Attorney General (“AG”) has submitted his proposed final CCPA regulations to the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”).

The proposed final rules substantively are the same as the draft rules released for public notice on March 11, which we summarized previously here.   However, the AG’s responses to comments and Final Statements of Reasons accompanying the final rulemaking package provide guidance on the AG’s position on key ambiguities under the CCPA.   For example, in declining to clarify whether the use of website cookies shared with third parties is a “sale,” the AG emphasized that, “[w]hether the particular situations raised in the comments constitutes a “sale” raises specific legal questions that would require a fact-specific determination, including whether or not there was monetary or other valuable consideration involved, the consumer directed the business to intentionally disclose the personal information, and whether the parties involved were service providers.”  The response thus is consistent with a determination that there is no “sale” of personal information based on specific facts and circumstances.  Other commentary provides guidance on such topics as the AG’s understanding of financial incentive provisions, obligations to respond to access and deletion requests, and when the law is applicable.
Continue Reading CCPA Update: Final Rulemaking Package Submitted to OAL

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument (by telephone) in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, a case that centers on the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and, more specifically, the prohibition on transmitting automated calls or texts to mobile telephone numbers without prior express consent.  Given the litigious environment surrounding the TCPA, the case has important potential implications for businesses that communicate with consumers in this manner.  A transcript of the argument is available here, and a recording is available here.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Hears Argument Regarding Constitutionality of TCPA