Archives: Federal Communications Commission

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FCC Announces Section 230 Rulemaking

FCC Chairman Pai announced today that the FCC will move forward with a rulemaking to clarify the meaning of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).  To date, Section 230 generally has been interpreted to mean that social media companies, ISPs, and other “online intermediaries” have not been subject to liability for their users’ … Continue Reading

FCC Reevaluating Certain TCPA Compliance Exemptions

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 … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Two TCPA Declaratory Rulings, One Clarifying Autodialer Definition

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 … Continue Reading

FCC Continues TRACED Act Implementation, Proposes to Expand Scope of Permissible Call Blocking

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took additional steps to implement the various mandates in the TRACED Act (discussed here and here), which was enacted late last year to help combat illegal robocalls.  Specifically, the FCC yesterday released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks comment on how best to eliminate “one-ring scams.”  Included … Continue Reading

FCC Clarifies that COVID-19 “Emergency Purposes” Calls/Text are Not Subject to “Prior Express Consent” Requirement

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) on its own motion released a Declaratory Ruling to confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an “emergency” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”); as a consequence, hospitals, health care providers, state and local health officials, and other government officials may lawfully communicate through automated or prerecorded calls (which … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Hear Case Regarding Deference to Federal Agencies on Statutory Interpretation

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc. v. PDR Network, LLC, No. 17-1705.  The case began when Carlton & Harris sued PDR Network for alleged violations of the commercial fax provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  The Fourth Circuit ruled in Carlton & Harris’s favor, relying on an interpretation … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Ninth Circuit’s Expansive TCPA Interpretation in Marks

Yesterday, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC, No. 14-56834 (Sept. 20, 2018).  The Public Notice, issued in the context of the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) reform proceeding, seeks comment … Continue Reading

FCC Seeking Comment on Key TCPA Reform Issues in Wake of DC Circuit Ruling

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Public Notice seeking comment on a range of issues relevant to its interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), including how the FCC should interpret what constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” in the wake of a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Rejects Portions of FCC Decision Interpreting Key TCPA Terms

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday issued a long-awaited ruling in a lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretations of key terms under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), holding that the FCC in 2015 had adopted an unreasonably broad definition of the type of calling equipment subject … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Report on Mobile Device Security Updates

On February 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a report discussing security updates for mobile devices.  The report stems from information the FTC collected from eight mobile device manufacturers — Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung — and from information the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) collected from mobile carriers in … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decision Provides Critical Win to FTC in its Authority over Internet Service Providers

In a ruling with implications for both net neutrality and privacy, the Ninth Circuit ruled en banc today that the common carrier exemption in Section 5 of the FTC Act is activity-based, reversing a 2016 panel ruling that the exemption was status-based.  Today’s decision bolsters the FTC’s authority to bring consumer protection (including privacy) and … Continue Reading

District Court Rejects Consent Revocation Claim Under TCPA

A recent District of New Jersey case emphasizes that while, under the FCC’s 2015 interpretation of the law, a customer has a broad right to revoke consent to receive automated calls and texts under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the manner in which the consumer seeks to revoke his or her consent must be … Continue Reading

FCC Poised to Release Draft Order on Net Neutrality Overhaul

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced today that at its December 14 open meeting, the FCC will vote on an overhaul of the net neutrality framework adopted by the prior Administration in 2015.  The full text of the draft order will be released tomorrow, but Chairman Pai has made certain key details known today.  The order … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Calling Platform $2.88 Million for TCPA Violations

Last week, the FCC issued a forfeiture order against Dialing Services, LLC (“Dialing Services”) $2,880,000, finding that Dialing Services made automated calls to wireless phones without prior express consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Dialing Services is a platform that offers automated calling services to its customers, and this Order is … Continue Reading

FCC Releases NPRM on Broadband ISPs and Net Neutrality Rules

The FCC has released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on “Restoring Internet Freedom” that was adopted by a 2-1 vote at the Commission’s open meeting on May 18.  The NPRM is substantively very similar to the draft released by Chairman Pai on April 27, and the comment deadlines remain the same: July 17 for … Continue Reading

New Republican Privacy Bill Would Expand Scope of “Sensitive” Data

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced a bill, the “Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly Act of 2017” (“BROWSER Act,” H.R. 2520) that would  create new online privacy requirements.  The BROWSER Act would require both ISPs and edge providers (essentially any service provided over the Internet) to provide users with notice of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Will Rehear Dismissal of FTC Throttling Suit

The Ninth Circuit announced today that the full court will rehear the case in which the three-judge panel opinion had dismissed the FTC’s lawsuit against AT&T for allegedly violating Section 5 of the FTC Act due to past “throttling” practices around unlimited data plans.  According to the panel opinion, the FTC lacked jurisdiction over AT&T’s … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Pai Proposes New Regulatory Framework for Broadband ISPs, Seeks Comment on Net Neutrality Rules

In a widely anticipated step, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on the legal framework that governs broadband providers and related net neutrality questions. Most notably from a privacy perspective, the draft NPRM proposes to find that broadband Internet access service is an “information service” under the Communications … Continue Reading

Advocacy Groups Urge FCC to End Data Retention Mandate

On April 24th, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) and a coalition of 37 other civil society groups sent a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to act on an August 2015 petition to repeal the FCC’s data retention mandate under 47 C.F.R. §42.6 (“Retention of Telephone Toll Records”). The mandate requires communications carriers … Continue Reading

Senators Reintroduce Cybersecurity Legislation for Cars and Planes

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reintroduced a pair of bills today relating to the cybersecurity of cars and aircraft, which would impose affirmative security, disclosure, and consent requirements on manufacturers and air carriers.  The Security and Privacy in Your Car (“SPY Car”) Act and Cybersecurity Standards for Aircraft to Improve Resilience (“Cyber … Continue Reading

House Democrats Propose Three Bills that Would Bolster FCC Influence over Cybersecurity

On March 2nd, Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced three pieces of legislation that would expand the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority over the cybersecurity practices of communications network providers. The first bill, the “Securing IoT Act of 2017” (introduced by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)), would expand the FCC’s certification authority … Continue Reading

California Judge Upholds CPUC Order to Share Confidential Subscriber Data, But Subject to Adequate Protective Order

On November 3, Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California held that federal law does not bar the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from requiring telecommunications companies to hand over, under an adequate protective order, confidential subscriber data to The Utility Reform Network (TURN) as part of an … Continue Reading

Consumer Groups, Stakeholders React to Petition Requesting Halt in Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Service Due to Cybersecurity Concerns

A variety of advocacy groups and industry stakeholders filed comments yesterday in response to a petition by non-profit Public Knowledge to halt operation of the Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) service.  The nascent DSRC service, which operates in the 5.9 GHz band, enables vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to protect the safety of drivers and passengers and … Continue Reading
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