• On December 7, 2010, the FTC released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) requesting comment on whether and how to strengthen the Caller ID provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Under the current rule, telemarketers must provide the name of the telemarketer, seller, or charitable organization making the phone call to the Caller ID system if the telemarketer’s carrier makes this service available. In the NPRM, the FTC seeks comment on how to make the rule more useful to consumers and how to combat technologies that telemarketers use to conceal their identity. It also seeks input on what modifications to the rule will allow consumers and law enforcement to use Caller ID information to identify entities responsible for illegal telemarketing practices now and in the future, including whether the rules should be amended to recognize or anticipate specific developments in telecommunications technologies. In addition, the NPRM requests comment on whether the FTC should expand the provisions of the rule that require disclosure of the identity of the seller or charitable organization on whose behalf a call is being made. Comments must be received by the FTC no later than January 28, 2011. A link to the NPRM can be found here.
  • On December 1, 2010, the FTC released its much-anticipated staff report on online privacy which proposes a broad framework for regulating the commercial use of information gathered from consumers’ online activities. The report calls upon the FTC to develop rules that (1) provide additional privacy and data security protections for consumers, (2) allow consumers to choose whether they want companies to collect information about their online browsing habits (e.g., consumers should have access to a universal “Do Not Track” mechanism), and (3) give individual consumers the right to access and review information about themselves collected by online companies and data aggregators. As drafted, many of the report’s recommendations would require Congress to pass new legislation or require the industry to develop new processes for self-regulation. Comments on the report are due to the FTC before or on January 31, 2011.

A copy of the report can be found here.