On May 8, 2018, Senator Ron Wyden (D–OR) demanded that the Federal Communications Commission investigate the alleged unauthorized tracking of Americans’ locations by Securus Technologies, a company that provides phone services to prisons, jails and other correctional facilities. Securus allegedly purchases real-time location data from a third-party location aggregator and provides the data to law enforcement without obtaining judicial authorization for the disclosure of the data. In turn, the third-party location aggregator obtains the data from wireless carriers. Federal law restricts how and when wireless carriers can share certain customer information with third parties, including law enforcement. Wireless carriers are prohibited from sharing certain customer information, including location data, unless the carrier has obtained the customer’s consent or the sharing is otherwise required by law. Continue Reading Senator Wyden Calls for FCC Investigation into Company Sharing Location Data
On February 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report, titled Mobile Security Updates: Understanding the Issues (the “Report”), that analyzes the process by which mobile devices sold in the U.S. receive security updates and provides recommendations for improvement. The Report is based on information the FTC obtained from eight mobile device manufacturers, and from information the Federal Communications Commission collected from six wireless carriers. Continue Reading FTC Recommends Steps to Improve Mobile Device Security Update Practices
On February 26, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in an en banc decision that the “common carrier” exception in the Federal Trade Commission Act is “activity-based,” and therefore applies only to the extent a common carrier is engaging in common carrier services. The decision has implications for FTC authority over Internet service providers, indicating that the FTC has authority to bring consumer protection actions against such providers to the extent they are engaging in non-common carrier activities. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has previously ruled that Internet access service is not a common carrier service subject to that agency’s jurisdiction. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Decision Bolsters FTC Authority over Internet Service Providers
Recently, the FTC and FCC announced their intent to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) under which the agencies would coordinate their efforts following the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (the “Order”). As we previously reported, if adopted, the Order would repeal the rules put in place by the FCC in 2015 that prohibit high-speed internet service providers (“ISPs”) from stopping or slowing down the delivery of websites and from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other services. Continue Reading FTC and FCC Announce Cooperation on Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules
Recently, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a draft of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (the “Order”). If adopted, the Order would repeal the rules put in place by the FCC in 2015 that prohibit high-speed internet service providers (“ISPs”) from stopping or slowing down the delivery of websites and from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other services. Continue Reading FCC Releases Plan to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules
On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed a bill which nullifies the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules (the “Rules”) promulgated by the FCC in October 2016. The Rules largely had not yet taken effect. In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the elimination of the Rules, noting that, “in order to deliver that consistent and comprehensive protection, the Federal Communications Commission will be working with the Federal Trade Commission to restore the FTC’s authority to police Internet service providers’ privacy practices.”
On March 1, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), under the new leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 2-1 to issue a temporary stay of the data security obligations of the FCC’s Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules (the “Rules”), which were to go into effect March 2, 2017. The temporary stay will remain in place until the FCC is able to act on pending petitions for reconsideration. Continue Reading FCC Stays Implementation of Data Security Rules
This post has been updated.
On October 27, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced the adoption of rules that require broadband Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to take steps to protect consumer privacy (the “Rules”). According to the FCC’s press release, the Rules are intended to “ensure broadband customers have meaningful choice, greater transparency and strong security protections for their personal information collected by ISPs.” Continue Reading FCC Adopts Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules
On October 27, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) will vote on whether to finalize proposed rules (the “Proposed Rules”) concerning new privacy restrictions for Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”). The Proposed Rules, which revise previous versions introduced earlier this year, would require customers’ explicit (or “opt-in”) consent before an ISP can use or share a customer’s personal data, including web browsing and app usage history, geolocation data, children’s information, health information, financial information, email and other message contents and Social Security numbers. Continue Reading FCC to Vote on Proposed Privacy Rules for Internet Service Providers
On November 5, 2015, the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) entered into a Consent Decree with cable operator Cox Communications to settle allegations that the company failed to properly protect customer information when the company’s electronic data systems were breached in August 2014 by a hacker. The FCC alleged that Cox failed to properly protect the confidentiality of its customers’ proprietary network information (“CPNI”) and personally identifiable information, and failed to promptly notify law enforcement authorities of security breaches involving CPNI in violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and FCC’s rules.