• On November 15, 2012, the FCC and TDS Telecommunications Corporation (TDS Telecom) entered into a consent decree regarding TDS Telecom’s compliance with CPNI requirements under 47 U.S.C. Section 222(c)(1). In February 2011, TDS Telecom self-reported its failure to include opt-out notifications in materials provided to over 40 thousand residential customers. Then, in May 2011, it self-reported a second CPNI compliance problem regarding the failure of its interactive voice response system to properly maintain the opt-out requests of certain customers. The consent decree includes a voluntary contribution by TDS Telecom in the amount of $350,000 and a CPNI compliance plan to resolve the issues. To read the consent decree, click here.
  • On November 14, 2012, the Senate approved a House bill to reauthorize the SAFE WEB Act. The SAFE WEB Act gives the FTC additional tools to combat cross-border fraud, spam, and spyware. For example, it allows the agency to share information with foreign law enforcement authorities and expands the type of fraud that the agency can take legal action against. The bill was first passed in 2006 and the reauthorized version is now headed to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. According to the FTC, the number of consumer complaints against foreign businesses exceeded 100,000 in 2011 alone. The SAFE WEB Act has enabled the FTC to pursue some of the most egregious cases, including over 100 investigations involving foreign targets, evidence, or assets. More information is available here.
  • Following up on its March 2012 “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change” Report, the FTC has announced that it will host a workshop on December 6, 2012, “to explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive collection of data about consumers’ online activities.” The workshop will bring together consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, and privacy professionals to discuss the issues raised by the collection and use of comprehensive data about consumers’ online activities by ISPs, browsers, search engines, and social media platforms. Interested parties may submit requests to participate as panelists and may recommend topics for inclusion on the agenda. The workshop is free and open to the public. More information is available here.
  • As part of its effort to thwart robocalls, the FTC has announced that it is launching the “FTC Robocall Challenge” – a contest that will award a $50,000 cash prize for the best technical solution for blocking illegal robocalls. The FTC believes the challenge will allow it to “tap into the genius and technical expertise among the public” in order to develop a successful solution to the illegal robocall problem. The award will go to the person, team, or small company (with fewer than 10 employees) that develops the best robocall-blocking technology. Entries will be judged by the following criteria: (1) it must work; (2) be easy to use; and (3) be easy to implement and operate. The FTC Robocall Challenge is free and open to the public. Entries will be accepted until January 17, 2013. More information regarding the FTC Robocall Challenge is available here.