Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.

FCC Policy

The next FCC Open Meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2020, at 10:30am ET. The Final Agenda contains nine items, including a Report and Order further implementing the TRACED Act to thwart spoofed robocalls. The meeting will be live streamed here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

As previously reported, the FCC is considering GC Docket No. 20-221 several updates to its ex parte rules, including a proposal to exempt, in certain proceedings, communications between the Commission and federally recognized Tribal Nations. Initial Comments are due October 2, 2020, with Reply Comments due October 19, 2020. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner. (GC Docket No. 20-221)

The FCC has announced that the rules adopted in the Third Report and Order in the Robocall docket, which provides two safe harbors and associated protections for the blocking of certain calls, will take effect on October 14, 2020. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (CG Docket No. 17-59, DA 20-1109)

Compliance Alerts
The FCC has issued a partial waiver of its telephone number aging requirements to companies affected by the wildfires in California and Oregon. The move allows customers to temporarily disconnect their services in order to avoid billing and later reinstate their numbers when service can be reconnected. The waiver expires June 22, 2021. For more information on this matter or any numbering issues, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. CC Docket No. 95-116 and 99-200, DA 20-1118)

In the Courts

Litigation continues in multiple jurisdictions over what class action plaintiffs call the “facial recognition arms race.” Two Chicago residents are leading the charge against the likes of IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facefirst, claiming that their facial recognition products violate Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act. One of the latest complaints is Vance v. Google LLC, filed in the Northern District of California. Last week Google filed a motion to dismiss or to stay this case pending the outcome of Vance v. International Business Machines, Inc., filed in the Northern District of Illinois. A key issue is whether the plaintiffs’ Illinois residency and their acts of uploading photos from devices in Illinois are sufficient to invoke the Illinois privacy law. For more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.

Legislative Affairs
The House Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Proposals to Strengthen the Antitrust Laws and Restore Competition Online” on October 1, 2020, at 1:00pm ET. As of this release, no witnesses were announced. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce 

Tribal Nations

The 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window, which enabled Tribal entities access to 2.5 GHz spectrum to provide broadband on Tribal lands, closed September 2, 2020. More than 400 applications were filed during the seven-month window that opened on February 3, 2020. On September 15, 2020, the FCC announced that 157 of the filed applications had been found acceptable for filing. Additional applications accepted for filing will be announced in one or more future public notices. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

Rural Broadband
The period to submit corrected applications for Auction 904 – the reverse auction of the $16 Billion Phase I of the FCC’s Rural Development Opportunity Fund – closed September 23, 2020. As of September 1, 2020, only 24% of applications were deemed complete. The FCC soon will announce the entities whose revised applications are now deemed complete to participate in the Auction. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

Note: This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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Marlene Laro

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