On January 15, Bureau Chief Michelle Ellison announced a new initiative with the release of the first Enforcement Advisories addressing consumer protection issues. She stated that these Advisories are designed to educate businesses about and alert consumers to what is required by the FCC’s rules, the purpose of those rules, and why they are important to consumers. She stated that “[c]consumer protection enforcement is at the core of the Bureau’s mission” and that the Bureau hopes that the Advisories will become a familiar tool for industry and counsel in their compliance reviews.
The first two Advisories address the HAC rules and the FCC’s consumer proprietary network information (“CPNI”) rules, which concern the confidential information that carriers collect from consumers in the course of serving them. The HAC Advisory discussed the previous day’s NALs and citations and the importance of the reports that carriers and manufacturers are required to submit concerning their HAC compliance, as well as their required website postings concerning their HAC handset models. The CPNI Advisory stressed the obligation of carriers and VoIP providers to file annual certifications on March 1, 2010, regarding their compliance with the CPNI rules and described the types of information covered by the rules. Attached to the Advisory were a list of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding the importance and scope of the annual CPNI certification requirement, a template for the certification, and the text of the CPNI rules. The FAQs also described some of the more frequent deficiencies found in previous years’ filings.