Many stewards of the Internet’s most popular websites, online services, and platforms have historically funded their products and services by harnessing the value of consumer data, with varying degrees of transparency about what data they collect, how they use it, and what third parties do with it. Consumers, public interest groups, some tech companies, regulators,

At its July 2017 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) designed to strengthen and expand consumer protections against “slamming” and “cramming.” Slamming is the unauthorized change of a consumer’s preferred service provider, while cramming is the placement of unauthorized charges on a consumer’s telephone bill.  As we reported in our Open Meeting preview, slamming and cramming represent a major source of consumer frustration and a common focus of recent FCC enforcement actions. The NPRM is the agency’s first attempt in five years to strengthen the rules around slamming and cramming – and is the first attempt to specifically define cramming in its rules.  Moreover, the agency asks whether these rules should apply to wireless carriers (especially prepaid wireless) and to VoIP providers, potentially expanding the reach of the rules significantly.  Wireless carriers and interconnected VoIP providers should therefore pay close attention to the potential compliance obligations and marketing restrictions proposed in the NPRM.

Continue Reading July 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Plans to Strengthen and Expand “Slamming” and “Cramming” Rules

businessman is dialing a phone number in officeAt its June 22, 2017 Open Meeting, commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to start a proceeding that will consider proposed changes to the agency’s rules regarding Caller ID privacy. Specifically, the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposes to revise its rules in section 64.1601 to allow law enforcement and interested parties to obtain access to blocked caller information in cases of threatening phone calls.
Continue Reading June 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Seeks to Exempt Threatening Calls from Ability to Mask Number Using Caller ID Privacy Protections

On November 3, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s or Commission’s) Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) issued consumer disclosure recommendations that–subject to bureau-level review and approval–will enable fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service (BIAS) providers to qualify for a limited safe harbor from the format requirements of the Commission’s open Internet transparency rule.

Continue Reading FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee Recommends Open Internet Consumer Disclosures

According to FierceWireless and other news sources, the wireless industry announced this morning an agreement with the FCC and consumer groups to provide free text alerts to consumers before they exceed their plan limits on voice minutes, text messages, data usage or international roaming.  The press release is available on the CTIA website here.  A good

Major prepaid calling card distributors have agreed to pay $2.25 million as part of a settlement to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false claims to consumers about the number of minutes of talk time their prepaid calling cards would provide. The companies targeted their advertising at recent immigrants, who the FTC said