Archives: Federal Communications Commission

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Ten Key Takeaways From Last Week’s TCPA Order

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text of its long-awaited order addressing certain aspects of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and related FCC rules.  The order addressed a total of 21 petitions seeking “clarification or other actions” regarding the TCPA, principally in connection with automated calls and text messages. Although the … Continue Reading

Carriers Agree to $3.5 Million FCC Fine For Alleged Privacy Violations

In a consent decree adopted yesterday by the Federal Communications Commission, two telecommunications carriers — TerraCom, Inc., and YourTel America, Inc. — agreed to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty and adhere to a three-year compliance program to settle allegations that the carriers violated the federal Communications Act by failing to adequately protect “proprietary information” … Continue Reading

FCC Ruling Tightens TCPA Restrictions; Dissenters Warn of Increased Class-Action Abuse

In an order adopted at Thursday’s Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission acted on 23 petitions or other requests for clarification regarding the application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that restricts telemarketing  and certain other types of calls.  The FCC has issued a news release describing yesterday’s order as an effort to … Continue Reading

FCC’s Agenda for April 28th Broadband Consumer Privacy Public Workshop

The FCC has announced its agenda and panelists for its public workshop on protecting the privacy of consumers who use broadband Internet access services, which will be held on April 28. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will give opening remarks and Matt Blaze, Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will … Continue Reading

AT&T Court Narrowly Interprets FTC Common Carrier Exception and Permits Throttling Case To Go Forward, Addresses Net Neutrality Issue

As we previously reported, in January AT&T filed a Motion to Dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) complaint alleging that AT&T engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act when it “throttled” mobile broadband subscribers who were “grandfathered” into the company’s unlimited mobile data plan.  AT&T moved to … Continue Reading

FCC to Hold Workshop On Broadband Privacy

The Federal Communications Commission will hold a workshop on April 28 to explore its role in protecting the privacy of broadband Internet access users. The Commission’s recent net neutrality order applied certain privacy requirements to broadband access providers, including Section 222 of the Communications Act.  That statute requires telecommunications carriers to protect the confidentiality of … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Speaks at Industry Event for First Time Since Net Neutrality Vote

Following Mark Zuckerberg’s opening keynote at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler took the stage yesterday.  As Wheeler’s first public appearance at an industry event since the FCC’s landmark vote last week to enforce net neutrality, the keynote was expected to be closely followed by global counterparts, and InsidePrivacy … Continue Reading

Parties Involved in TCPA Fax Litigation May Qualify for Relief

The FCC recently agreed to grant limited waivers for violations of its “opt out notice” rule for solicited faxes (i.e., faxes sent with the recipient’s prior express invitation or permission).  That rule requires that senders of faxes include opt-out notices on fax transmissions that contain advertisements or promotions.  The FCC initially promulgated its opt-out notice … Continue Reading

FTC Closes Investigation After Verizon Fixes Encryption Problems With FiOS and DSL Routers

Earlier this week, the FTC notified Verizon by letter that it has closed its investigation into whether Verizon violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by failing to secure certain routers supplied to the company’s broadband subscribers.  The FTC’s investigation centered on Verizon’s practice of supplying routers that incorporated an outdated default security setting, an … Continue Reading

Ten Ways the 2014 Election May Affect Privacy and Data Security Law

When Republicans take over the Senate in January, new leaders will control key committees that oversee privacy and data security issues, and their priorities will differ significantly from those of their predecessors.  Privacy issues, however, generally tend not to break neatly along party lines and there will remain bipartisan support – and bipartisan opposition – … Continue Reading

Officials Comment on the Future of FTC, FCC, and CFPB Privacy Enforcement Authority

By Caleb Skeath At a recent IAPP privacy event, officials from the FTC and CFPB offered insight into their respective agencies’ future enforcement plans, as well as the shifting landscape of privacy enforcement actions.  Although such enforcement actions have historically been the domain of the FTC, the FCC recently entered the privacy enforcement arena, announcing … Continue Reading

FCC Expands Application of Customer Privacy Provisions with $10 Million Fine Against Carriers

By Caleb Skeath Last Friday, the FCC announced that it intends to fine two telecommunications carriers — TerraCom, Inc., and YourTel America, Inc. — a total of $10 million for failing to protect certain customer data.  According to the FCC, the two carriers, which provide discount phone services to low-income individuals, posted customer “proprietary information” … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Consent Decree Regarding Verizon CPNI Opt-Out Notices

A Consent Decree adopted by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau on September 2 settles the FCC’s inquiry into allegations that Verizon failed to provide some customers with required notices about Verizon’s use of Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) and took too long to notify the FCC after discovering the error. Under the Consent Decree, Verizon will … Continue Reading

New Connecticut Law Adds Promotional SMS to State “Do Not Call” Registry Rules; Prohibits Promotional SMS to Numbers Not on State Registry Absent “Prior Express Written Consent”

Last week, the governor of Connecticut signed into law a new requirement that extends compliance with the state’s existing Do-Not-Call registry to promotional text messages (SMS).  Specifically, the law amends the definition of a “telephonic sales call” to include a “text or media message sent by or on behalf of a telephone solicitor,” thereby prohibiting … Continue Reading

FCC Obtains Record $7.5 Million Settlement With Sprint for Alleged Do-Not-Call Violations

Earlier this week, the FCC announced that mobile wireless company Sprint will pay $7.5 million to resolve allegations that the company failed to honor consumer requests to be placed on Sprint’s entity-specific Do-Not-Call list.  The settlement represents the largest of its kind between the FCC and a carrier. Through this settlement agreement, which follows a … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Company $2.9 Million for Political Robocalls to Cell Phones

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to fine Dialing Services, LLC, nearly $3 million for making illegal “robocalls” to cell phones. The FCC has specific rules for automatic telephone dialing systems, also known as “autodialers,” that have the capacity to produce, store, and dial telephone numbers using a random or sequential number generator. … Continue Reading

FCC and 11th Circuit Address “Prior Express Consent” by a Third Party Under the TCPA

Last week, the FCC issued two TCPA rulings that shed further light on whether and under what circumstances an individual can provide “prior express consent”—or convey such consent—for another in the context of automated or prerecorded informational calls or text messages to mobile phones.  One of these rulings came in response to a Petition for … Continue Reading

Court Strikes Net Neutrality Rules, Leaves Path for Other Broadband Regulations

A federal appeals court struck down key parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order in a Jan. 14 decision, ruling that the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules improperly regulate broadband providers like “common carriers” — such as providers of traditional telephone service — even though the FCC has classified broadband providers as not subject … Continue Reading

Federal Judge: Companies Must Document Consent to Avoid TCPA Claims

A recent federal court opinion demonstrates the need for companies to retain appropriate documentation to avoid liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when they transmit messages to mobile phones using autodialers or prerecorded messages. Last September, Alfredia Glenn sued CheckSmart Financial Company, a payday loan company.  In her complaint, filed in the U.S. … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on Petitions to Forbear or Clarify New TCPA Rules

Earlier today, the FCC placed on public notice two petitions requesting that the agency clarify or forbear from enforcing certain aspects of its new TCPA regulations that went into effect on October 16, 2013.  Those regulations, which we summarized here, created, among other things, a new “prior express written consent” requirement for the transmission of … Continue Reading

Petitions to Forbear or Clarify New FCC TCPA Rules Filed

Earlier today, two entities — the Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) and a Coalition of Mobile Engagement Providers (“Coalition”) — filed petitions at the FCC asking the agency to stay and forbear from enforcing, or clarify, certain aspects of the “prior express written consent” requirement that went into effect yesterday for prerecorded calls to residential numbers and autodialed … Continue Reading

New Rules for Autodialed Promotional Text Messages and Prerecorded Call Programs Come Into Effect Oct. 16

Last week, I spoke on a panel at the IAPP Privacy Academy about upcoming changes to FCC regulations governing the “prior express consent” requirement for, among other things, autodialed promotional text message and prerecorded call programs under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  These changes will take effect next week, on October 16, 2013.  Some … Continue Reading

FCC: Customer Data Carriers Obtain Through Mobile Devices Subject to Existing Privacy Rules

Telecommunications carriers and providers of interconnected VoIP service with access to certain kinds of customer information collected through mobile devices are subject to existing privacy rules governing their use and disclosure of that information, the Federal Communications Commission announced in a declaratory ruling adopted at its June 27 meeting.  Significantly, the decision makes clear that … Continue Reading
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