• According to the FCC Quarterly Reports of Informal Consumer Inquiries and Complaints reported above, the number of consumer inquires regarding wireless service during the fourth quarter of 2010 grew by over 450%. The FCC linked this substantial growth to the “bill shock” proceeding, which was initiated during that time. In addition, the number of complaints regarding wireless service grew by 16%, while complaints regarding wireline service decreased by 12% in the same period. Brian Josef, CTIA Director of Regulatory Affairs, has responded to the reports by stating that, “During a period in which the FCC affirmatively sought ‘bill shock’ complaints, it is telling that ‘bill shock’-related complaints totaled just 416, or approximately one per million wireless lines. In fact, ‘bill shock’-related complaints amounted to six-tenths of one percent (0.6%) of wireless-related complaints for the year. With 17 million new wireless additions in 2010, this means that the number of billing and ‘bill shock’-related complaints per subscriber actually decreased during the year.”
  • The FTC has taken action suggesting that compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is an area of increased focus and one of which mobile application developers must be aware. The FTC has announced two COPPA-related enforcement actions against online companies, including its first case against a mobile application developer. W3 Innovations, LLC, which does business as Broken Thumbs Apps, settled a lawsuit with the FTC by agreeing to pay $50,000 in fines. Broken Thumbs develops and distributes mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad, including games such as Truth or Dare, Emily’s Dress Up & Shop, and Cootie Catcher. According to the FTC complaint, available here, Broken Thumbs failed to provide a written privacy policy on its website, failed to provide appropriate notice to parents regarding its data collection activities, and failed to obtain verifiable parental consent, all in violation of COPPA. The FTC sought up to $480 million in civil penalties. To view the agency’s statement about the W3 settlement, click here.

For more information about recent FTC actions, you can read an article by Ross Buntrock, a Partner in our Group, available here.

  • Comments on the FCC Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the use of microwave links for wireless backhaul are due October 4, 2011, and Reply Comments are due October 25, 2011. For more information, click here. To view the NPRM, click here.
  • Comments on the draft Mobile Medical Applications guidelines from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are due October 19, 2011. The draft guidelines are available here. Filing instructions are provided in the document.