As part of its August 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) proposing over $82 million in fines against Philip Roesel and the insurance companies he operated for allegedly violating the Truth in Caller Act by altering the caller ID information (a/k/a “spoofing”) of more than 21 million robocalls in order to generate sales leads and avoid detection by authorities.  The FCC separately issued a Citation against Mr. Roesel and his companies for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by transmitting the robocalls to emergency, wireless, and residential phone lines without consent.  The NAL and Citation represent just the latest salvos in the FCC’s continuing assault on robocalling in general and deceptive uses of spoofing in particular.  With $200 million in proposed fines in only two cases, it is clear that such issues will remain an enforcement priority under Chairman Pai.

Continue Reading August 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Rings Up Another Spoofing Robocaller, Proposing Over $82 Million in Fines

Continuing an aggressive “zero tolerance” enforcement approach regarding signal jammers, the FCC on June 19, 2014 proposed to fine a Chinese-based equipment manufacturer a record $34.9 million for marketing signal jamming equipment.  The fine is based on an undercover investigation undertaken by Enforcement Bureau personnel.  As such, the Commission’s action follows a trend in the use of this investigative technique that began several years prior.  Further, the Commission ordered the company to report additional information to the Commission, including the names of each purchaser of equipment in the United States.  The action underscores the obligation that all manufacturers have to ensure that their products meet applicable FCC limits and restrictions.
Continue Reading FCC Proposes Record $34 Million Fine for Marketing Illegal Signal Jammers

What are the ramifications of the FCC’s refusal to classify interconnected VoIP?  For one, it complicates the job of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.  As a recent Citation to Vantage Communications shows, the failure to classify interconnected VoIP as either telecom or non-telecom has allowed interconnected VoIP providers to get one "free violation" before the FCC imposes fines for violations of the Act or FCC rules.

In Vantage Communications, the Enforcement Bureau found that Vantage failed to provide 911 calling capability to at least three customers.  This is a clear violation of Section 9.5(b) of the FCC rules, which requires interconnected VoIP providers, "as a condition to providing service to a consumer," to provide E911 calling capability.  The FCC issued a Citation to Vantage — a warning — and stated that future violations could subject it to fines or other enforcement action.  So why does Vantage get a warning when other telecommunications carriers would get fined?  Keep reading to learn why.

Continue Reading Interconnected VoIP Providers Getting One Free Bite