Category Archives: Privacy

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

On 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

State of the Union Preview: White House Communications Priorities for 2015

In the days leading up to Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama has been previewing his Administration’s communications and technology priorities for 2015, including calling for an end to state laws that restrict municipal broadband deployments and new steps to promote cybersecurity.… Continue Reading

FCC Extends Deadline for Call-Blocking Technology Comments

On December 17, 2014, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB”) released an order extending the deadline to January 23, 2015 for interested parties to file comments in response to a request from the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) for a formal opinion regarding the legality of certain call-blocking technologies. The extension was granted pursuant … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Input on State Attorneys General’s Call-Blocking Technology Inquiry

The FCC’s docket dedicated to resolving issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) has been very active as of late.  Sometimes, it takes a while for the Commission to react to a filing made before it.  One recent example is the Public Notice released by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau on November … Continue Reading

In One Action, FCC Rules Against 24 TCPA Petitioners but Grants Retroactive Waivers of Opt-Out Requirements for Faxes

On October 30, 2014, the FCC released an order that effectively resolves nearly half of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) petitions pending before it. This order addresses 24 petitions seeking clarification of the Commission’s rules requiring individuals and entities that send fax advertisements to include certain information on the fax to allow recipients to “opt-out” … Continue Reading

Federal Communications Commission Announces Membership in Global Privacy Enforcement Network

On October 28, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) announced that it had joined the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (“GPEN”), a network of privacy enforcement and regulatory bodies from around the world that engages in collaboration and coordination on cross-border privacy enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes $10 Million in Fines for Privacy and Data Security Violations

On October 24, the FCC, over the dissent of its two Republican commissioners, issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing a fine of $10 million to Lifeline eligible telecommunications carriers (“ETCs”) TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. for violations of laws protecting “phone customers’ personal information.” This is the agency’s first data security case and the … Continue Reading

FCC Reminds Political Campaigns of TCPA Obligations Ahead of Elections

With mid-term elections just around the corner, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a stern warning to political campaigns and calling services regarding their obligation to comply with the TCPA and stating that the Commission “will not hesitate to act to protect consumer privacy and their freedom from the nuisance of unwanted calls.”  The Enforcement Advisory … Continue Reading

AT&T Mobility Agrees to Pay $45 Million to Settle TCPA Litigation

On September 30, 2014, AT&T Mobility (“AT&T”) asked a U.S. District Court judge to approve a settlement agreement that would resolve a class action arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA” or “Act”).  In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that AT&T made auto-dialed calls to wireless phone numbers without receiving the prior express consent … Continue Reading

In the Latest TCPA Twist, State AGs Seek FCC Guidance on Legality of Call-Blocking Technology

On September 9, 2014, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter signed by 39 state attorneys general to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler seeking a formal opinion as to whether there are any “legal and/or regulatory prohibitions [that] prohibit telephone carriers from implementing call-blocking technology,” and, if such prohibitions exist, whether a carrier may nevertheless … Continue Reading

Verizon Agrees to Pay $7.4 Million to Resolve CPNI Investigation

On September 3, 2014, Verizon agreed to pay $7.4 million to resolve an investigation into possible misuse of customers’ personal information in a number of tailored marketing campaigns.  Prompted by a self-disclosure from the company, the FCC investigated Verizon’s use of customers’ subscription and call information to market new services.  Such use is restricted by Section 222 of the … Continue Reading

NIST Requests Industry Feedback on Cyber Framework 1.0

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Request for Information (RFI), “Experience with the Framework For Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity”, this week requesting industry feedback on the Cybersecurity Framework published in February 2014. Framework 1.0 was developed by NIST in response to the Obama Administration’s February 2013 Cybersecurity Executive Order aimed at … Continue Reading
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