Category Archives: Privacy

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Client Advisory: Congress Repeals FCC 2016 Privacy Order via Congressional Review Act

On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed into law a Congressional joint resolution eliminating new broadband and voice privacy rules set forth in a November 2016 order (the 2016 Privacy Order) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (the Joint Resolution).  Members of Congress largely voted along partisan lines. The House approved the Joint Resolution by … Continue Reading

Sessions Commits to Enforcing USA FREEDOM Act

On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, (R., AL), the president-elect’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ), said that he intends to follow the USA FREEDOM Act, which prohibits the National Security Agency (NSA) from bulk collection of phone records.  For more on … Continue Reading

Client Advisory: The FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text of its long-awaited Broadband Privacy Order, which it adopted on October 27, 2016. For an overview of the Order, you may read our client advisory here. The practical impact and reach of the rules will not be known for some time, but … Continue Reading

FCC Votes to Impose Aggressive New Privacy Rules on Broadband Providers

At the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Open Meeting on October 27, the Commission voted along party lines (3-2) to impose more stringent rules on broadband Internet service providers (“ISPs”). Chairman Tom Wheeler, along with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn voted in favor of the item, while Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly voted against it. The new rules … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Outlines Proposal for New Broadband Privacy Rules

On October 6, 2016, Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Tom Wheeler published a blog entry on the Commission’s website outlining proposed privacy rules for broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The proposed rules are scheduled to be considered by the full Commission at its monthly meeting on October 27, 2016. These rules come after … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decision in AT&T “Throttling” Case May Reset Boundaries Between FTC and FCC Jurisdiction

On Monday, August 29, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that may dramatically alter the boundaries between the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority over phone companies, broadband providers, and other common carriers.  The Ninth Circuit dismissed a case that the FTC brought against AT&T over its … Continue Reading

FCC Continues Crusade to Curb Robocalls

The FCC’s high-profile efforts with regard to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) continue.   In addition to two controversial orders released in the last two weeks, the FCC is pushing the telecommunications industry to take action on blocking techniques.  Now the FCC has announced that it will host a meeting for what is billed as … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Wheeler Turns to the FCC Blog to Encourage Robocall Blocking

On July 22, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler penned a blog post on the Commission’s website highlighting the efforts at the agency to prevent unwanted automated and prerecorded message calls restricted under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  In particular, the blog post discussed recent and upcoming rulemakings, declaratory decisions, and enforcement actions, as well as … Continue Reading

Client Advisory: The FCC’s Broadband Privacy NPRM

As we discussed in our earlier blog post, on March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) voted along party lines (3-2) to launch a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish privacy rules for Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS) providers.  These proposals, if adopted, could impose prescriptive and complex privacy obligations that … Continue Reading

FCC Votes 3-2 to Initiate Sweeping Broadband Privacy Rulemaking Proceeding

On March 31, 2016 at its Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) voted along party lines (3-2) to launch a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish privacy rules for broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As we explained in our blog post in anticipation of this vote, this rulemaking stems from the … Continue Reading

FCC Includes Privacy Item on Its March Open Meeting Agenda: What to Expect

It’s official: next Thursday, March 31, 2016, the FCC will vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a proposed framework for new privacy and data security rules for broadband Internet access service (BIAS) providers.  This proceeding will have important implications for not only the broadband providers subject to the rules, but also … Continue Reading

Verizon Agrees to Pay $1.35 Million to Settle FCC “Supercookie” Investigation

Modern mobile devicesOn March 7, 2016, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it reached a settlement with Verizon Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether Verizon violated the Commission’s rules by inserting Unique Identifier Headers (UIDH) – informally known as “supercookies” – into consumers’ Internet traffic over its wireless network as part of the company’s targeted advertising … Continue Reading

Revival of Cookie Litigation Highlights Risks Associated with Mobile Tracking Technologies

On November 10, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit revived several privacy claims against Google pertaining to the Internet company’s practice of side-stepping “cookie blockers” on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari browsers. The Third Circuit found that Google could be required to respond to claims that it intentionally circumvented “cookie blockers” … Continue Reading

A First Look at the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released the text of its omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (“TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order” or “Ruling”), which the Commission adopted by a 3-2 vote almost a month earlier, on June 18, 2015. In Friday’s Ruling, the FCC responded to 21 petitions by … Continue Reading

Steve Augustino joining upcoming TeleStrategies Webinar panel: USA Freedom Act Impact on US Telephone Industry on July 16 at 1:00 ET

The USA Freedom Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on June 2, 2015. Much is certain about this law, for example, after six months the phone companies, not NSA will hold the bulk phone records but not the content. A new kind of court order will permit the government to … Continue Reading

TerraCom & YourTel Reach $3.5 Million Settlement With FCC over Alleged Privacy, Data Security, and Lifeline Violations

On July 9th, the Enforcement Bureau (EB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) reached a $3.5 million Consent Decree to resolve an investigation into whether TerraCom, Inc. (TerraCom) and YourTel America, Inc. (YourTel) (collectively, the Companies) violated laws protecting “phone customers’ personal information,” and whether YourTel failed to timely de-enroll Lifeline subscribers following … Continue Reading

FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Praises PayPal After Original TCPA Terms Drew Criticism

Two weeks ago, the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) sent a letter to PayPal, Inc. (“PayPal” or “Company”) stating that the Company’s recent amendments to its User Agreement did not comply with federal law.  Although the letter did not threaten enforcement action, the FCC has the power to impose fines … Continue Reading

FCC Enforcement Advisory: Broadband Providers Must Take Reasonable, Good Faith Steps to Protect Consumer Privacy

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued its first enforcement advisory in the post-Open Internet Order  era.  Not surprisingly, the Bureau’s first advisory addressed the consumer privacy obligations of broadband providers.  In the Advisory, the Bureau reminded broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”) providers that they will need to take “reasonable, good faith … Continue Reading

Post-Open Internet Order, FCC Schedules a Consumer Privacy Workshop

The FCC’s Wireline Competition and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureaus recently announced that they will hold a joint workshop on Tuesday, April 28 to “explore the Commission’s role in protecting the privacy of consumers that use broadband Internet access service.”  Discussions will center around the FCC’s recent Open Internet Order and its implications for the obligations … Continue Reading

AT&T Reaches $25 Million Settlement with FCC over Privacy and Data Security Violations

On April 8, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) Enforcement Bureau (“EB”) reached a $25 million consent decree with AT&T over privacy and data security breaches involving its customers’ proprietary information (“PI”) and customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”) at three of AT&T’s international call centers.  Under the terms of the settlement, AT&T … Continue Reading

Please Join Us on March 24 at 12 PM ET for a Free Webinar: What Your Company Needs to Know About the FCC’s Open Internet Order

On March 12th, the FCC released its long-awaited 2015 Open Internet Order. In brief, the order reclassifies broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act, imposes three bright-line “Open Internet” rules, enhances the transparency rule, adopts a forward-looking reasonable conduct standard for service provider conduct, and forbears … Continue Reading

John Heitmann and Jameson Dempsey Speaking at Mobile World Congress – 4 Years From Now on March 3 at 2 PM CET

Communications Chair and Partner, John J. Heitmann and associate, Jameson Dempsey will be speaking at “4 Years From Now” during Mobile World Congress, an annual event with over 80,00 attendees.… Continue Reading

Open Internet Order Preview: Chairman Wheeler Offers a Glimpse into His Draft Proposal

On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a fact sheet on Chairman Wheeler’s imminent Open Internet proposal. The draft rules would reclassify “broadband Internet access service” as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, and would rely on Title II and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to … Continue Reading
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