Robocalls: everyone receives one or two, but more likely dozens.  While some are helpful, most are annoying, and the worst can result in financial fraud.  While the FCC and Congress have been taking steps toward addressing the issue, state attorneys general (AGs) have taken the first major action to end unwanted robocalls.  On August 22,

In one of his earliest official acts, President Trump appointed FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai as the long-term Chairman of the FCC. While many thought Commissioner Pai was the most likely candidate to be named interim Chairman of the Commission, President Trump skipped the interim step and immediately appointed Chairman Pai on a long-term basis. This decision is significant because it eliminates the need for the Senate to confirm Chairman Pai. While the appointment of a new FCC Commissioner requires Senate confirmation, the president has the authority to name the chairman from existing FCC Commissioners with no further action required. For the time being, Chairman Pai will head a three-member, Republican majority panel consisting of fellow Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. There are currently two vacant seats on the five-member Commission.

While it is difficult to predict the exact course in which Chairman Pai will lead the Commission, one thing is certain: under his leadership, the FCC will be vastly different than under previous Chairman Tom Wheeler.

As a Commissioner during the Obama administration since 2012, Chairman Pai strongly dissented to most of the significant rulemaking proceedings championed by former Chairman Wheeler. Notably, Chairman Pai was adamantly opposed to adoption of the 2015 “Open Internet” Order, as well as the subsequent Broadband Privacy Order of 2016.

Continue Reading Ajit Pai Appointed Chairman of the FCC – Expect Change

Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued an enforcement advisory reiterating its position that autodialed text messages must comply with requirements set forth in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Though it is unclear what prompted this specific advisory (perhaps, the upcoming holiday season), the Enforcement Bureau issued the warning in order to promote understanding

On October 27, 2016, the FCC adopted a new set of privacy and data security regulations applicable to “broadband service providers and other telecommunications carriers.”

The rules place new restrictions on internet service providers’ (“ISPs”) ability to use and share their customers’ data. The Commission established two data classifications: (1) sensitive information, and (2) non-sensitive

TCPA class actions continue to plague companies around the country, but a recent FCC ruling means that one big caller doesn’t have to worry: the federal government, as well as its contractors.

On July 5, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a declaratory ruling that broadly exempted the federal government and its contractors from the requirements of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which include obtaining prior express consent before making most calls to mobile phones.
Continue Reading Federal Government and Its Contractors Exempt from the TCPA, FCC Rules

Initial comments are due on May 27, 2016 regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released last month by the FCC in its broadband privacy proceeding. The rules proposed in the NPRM have already been the subject of contentious discussions throughout the federal government and the communications industry. Those discussions included a hearing earlier

The Declaratory Ruling and Order issued by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) July 10, 2015,  clarified several sections of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), including addressing a petition filed by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management regarding “free, pro-consumer… healthcare-related messages,” and under what circumstances such messages are exempt from the TCPA’s

On July 9, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission settled its first data security case with two related telecommunications carriers – TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. – for $3.5 million. The settlement resolves the FCC’s investigation into whether the carriers violated the federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. section 151 et. seq. (the “Act”) by failing to protect the confidentiality of personal information they received from more than 300,000 consumers.

TerraCom and its affiliate YourTel collected sensitive data on consumers in order to establish eligibility for the Lifeline program, a government-sponsored program that provides discounted phone services to low-income individuals. To prove their eligibility, potential customers were asked for personal information, including their names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers. In their privacy policies, the companies claimed to have in place “technology and security features to safeguard the privacy of your customer specific information from unauthorized access.”

However, despite their pledge, the carriers’ third-party vendor inadvertently stored the personal information of more than 300,000 customers in “clear, readable text” on unprotected Internet servers that “anyone in the world could access with a search engine and basic manipulation.” From September 2012 through April 2013, the information had been stored on the third-party vendor’s servers, in two publicly accessible folders that lacked any password protection or encryption, according to the FCC. After being put on notice of the security lapse, TerraCom and YourTel failed to notify all potentially affected customers, depriving those individuals of the opportunity to protect their personal information.

Continue Reading FCC Settles First Data Security Enforcement Action

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released Public Notices seeking comment on two recently filed requests for guidance on different aspects of its February 2012 Report and Order creating enhanced compliance obligations under its Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules. Both requests relate to that aspect of the Order that requires prior express written