FCC Adopts Order Creating a Centralized Reassigned Number Database, Which Could Address Some Robocall Concerns

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After several requests for comment, the FCC has approved its earlier proposal to create a centralized, comprehensive reassigned telephone numbers database, a resource which many have felt has been lacking. Ideally, the proposed database will be an effective tool to assist businesses in identifying numbers that have been recycled, thus helping to cut down on unwanted or mistaken phone calls received by consumers. This blog outlines the framework of the FCC’s new  database, including access, administration, types of information collected, usage, and potential costs and benefits.  

One of the most persistent complaints by consumers to the FCC is about receiving uninvited “robocalls.”  Generally speaking, these may be phone calls or texts to wireless phones or home phones that may be telemarketing or informational calls from health providers, financial services providers, schools or retailers.  The FCC is the federal agency responsible for implementation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which contains opt in consent requirements for telemarketing and some types of informational calls which are heightened if the call is made to a wireless phone.  Even when consumers have provided the requisite consent to receive “robocalls” calls from businesses it is not uncommon for consumers to terminate phone service, moving to a new service provider and getting a new phone number.

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CFPB Settles with Savings and Loan Association for Alleged Violations of the FCRA

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a settlement with State Farm Bank, FSB for alleged violations which involved obtaining and furnishing consumer reports, which in some cases were inaccurate, to Consumer Reporting Agencies. The order finds that State Farm Bank, an Illinois federal savings association with over $10 billion in assets, violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the first U.S. Sectorial privacy law, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act in a number of ways.

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FTC Commissioners Call for Federal Privacy Legislation and Highlight Lack of Civil Penalty Enforcement in Senate Hearing

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In their first congressional testimony together as a full commission, the Federal Trade Commissioners expressed support for comprehensive federal privacy legislation before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security on November 27. While the focus of the hearing was primarily on privacy and data security, the Commission’s written testimony provided updates regarding other consumer protection and competition matters.

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Physician Provided PHI to Media When “No Comment” Would Have Sufficed

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a $125,000 no-fault settlement and two-year corrective action plan with Allergy Associates of Hartford, P.C. (Allergy Associates) stemming from an incident involving a physician who impermissibly released protected health information (PHI) to the media.

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FCC Announces its Agenda and Speakers for its AI and Machine Learning Forum

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On November 7, the FCCin a relatively terse Public Noticeannounced that it would hold a Forum at its headquarters on November 30 designed to focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning by having experts in AI and machine learning discuss the future of these technologies and their implications for the communications marketplace.

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NIST Seeks Public Comment on Developing a Privacy Framework

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published its request for information (RFI) covering a series of questions designed to assist in the development of a voluntary framework meant to improve the management of the privacy risk that could arise from the collection, storage and use of individuals’ information in the Federal Register on November 14, 2018.

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