Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
On July 23, 2020, the FCC issued a $2.8M Forfeiture Order available here against HobbyKing for marketing and selling drones containing unauthorized audio/video (A/V) transmitters. The transmitters use spectrum that is also used by federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, thus causing risk of interference. The Order resolves an investigation that began in 2016. In addition to imposing a fine of $2,861,128, the Order “warn[s] HobbyKing that continued failure to comply with the equipment marketing requirements is likely to be met with additional sanctions.” For more information, contact Stephanie Joyce.
In accordance with the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, the FCC has adopted new rules to enhance its collection and mapping of broadband availability, in accordance with the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The new rules implement the primary provisions of the Broadband DATA Act, which includes submission of standardized broadband availability maps by mobile and fixed broadband providers. The FCC also seeks further comment on proposals for stakeholders to challenge the availability data submitted by providers, and reforms to the FCC’s current Form 477 data-gathering. The Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be found here. (WC Docket Nos. 19-195, 11-10; FCC 20-94) For more information, contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
The FCC Form 499-Q is due August 3, 2020, for all filers that are not considered to be de minimis for Universal Service contribution purposes. The filing encompasses historical revenues from the 2nd quarter of 2020, and projected revenues for the 4th quarter of 2020. The filing must be completed in the Universal Service Administrative Company’s portal found here. Contact Katherine Barker Marshall if you have any questions about the filing or Universal Service Fund requirements.
The FCC has added requirements to its Enhanced 911 rules for wireless carriers. Beginning January 6, 2022, wireless carriers are required to transmit dispatchable location information with 911 calls when technically feasible. The Order also augments current timeless for deployment of coordinate-based vertical location (z-axis) technology, which is used to provide accurate location information in multi-story buildings. Under the current requirements, national wireless carriers must meet z-axis location technology requirements in the top 25 markets by April 2021, and in the top 50 markets by April 2023. Now they are required to deploy z-axis location technology nationwide by April 2025, though non-national wireless carriers received an extra year to comply in their service areas. A copy of the Order can be found here (PS Docket No. 07-114; FCC 20-98). For more information, contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
In the Courts
The House Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing on July 29, 2020, 12:00pm ET, titled Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Reportedly, the CEOs of each company will testify. In addition, according to a letter from Rep. Jim Jordan, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has also been invited. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
Three congressional hearings will be held tomorrow, July 28, 2020, at 10:00 am ET:
- The Senate Communications Subcommittee will convene a hearing titled The Pact Act and Section 230: The Impact of the Law That Helped Create the Internet and an Examination of Proposed Reforms for Today’s Online World. Scheduled to testify are the Honorable Christopher Cox, Director of NetChoice, Olivier Sylvain, Professor of Law at Fordham University, Jeff Kosseff, Assistant Professor, U.S. Naval Academy, and Elizabeth Banker, Deputy General Counsel of the Internet Association. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- The House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, together with the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology, will convene a hearing titled The Role of Technology in Countering Trafficking in Persons. Scheduled to testify are Anjana Ragan, CTO of Polaris, Matthew Daggett of the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT, and Emily Kennedy, President and Co-Founder of Marinus Analytics. Information about livestreaming is available here.
- The Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property will convene a hearing titled How Does the DMCA Contemplate Limitations and Exceptions Like Fair Use?. Two panels of witnesses are scheduled to testify, including Grammy Award-winning artist Yolanda Adams. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
July is proving to be a pivotal month in privacy law. As we reported last week, the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU-US Privacy shield in response to an individual’s claim against Facebook after his data was transferred from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc. in the United States. The ruling leaves the “Standard Contractual Clauses”, SCCs, as the primary, and arguably only, defensible path forward for U.S. and EU companies to share personal data.
In addition, the California Attorney General began enforcement of the CCPA, California’s groundbreaking privacy law, by sending notices to alleged non-compliant businesses. The near-universal expectation is that enforcement will increase significantly as California returns to work after the initial COVID-19 lockdown. These enforcement actions could have significant impacts for businesses who face civil penalties that can range from $2,500 for a non-intentional CCPA violation to $7,500 for an intentional violation. Read AG Becerra’s press release here.
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