Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
The FCC has stayed its 4.9 GHz Sixth Report and Order on the petition of the Public Safety Spectrum Alliance (PSSA), finding that the “protection of current and future public safety use of the band” constitutes good cause. The Order, adopted under former Chairman Pai, allowed for the lease of 4.9 GHz spectrum to third parties without regard to the longstanding public safety obligations applicable to that band. PSSA argued, as did two entities seeking reconsideration of the Order, that allowing such leasing would case irreparable harm “by undermining public safety reliance on the band.” The stay will remain in place until the petitions for reconsideration are resolved.
The next FCC Open Meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2021. The Tentative Agenda contains eight items, including an NPRM in the Supply Chain proceeding and a Report and Order adopting streamlined procedures for alerting the Enforcement Bureau to suspected robocalls and spoofing.
On May 27, 2021, leadership of the House Commerce Committee sent letters to Facebook, Twitter, and Google requesting “briefings” on their efforts to combat the spread of disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Oversight Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) joined together to seek answers to why, after the March 2021 hearing in which the companies pledged to address the so-called “Disinformation Dozen” responsible for 65% of anti-vaccine content on those platforms, the problematic content continues to appear. Responses are requested by June 10, 2021.
Also on May 27, the House Commerce Committee held a markup of H.R. 2668, the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, which would amend Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 53(b), by adding authority to seek monetary damages. According to Chmn. Pallone, this legislation, which was introduced April 20, 2021, is “necessary for the FTC’s consumer protection mission,” and more specifically to authorize the agency “to get monetary relief for harmed consumers.” Not a week after Rep. Cardenas (D-CA) introduced the bill, the Supreme Court reversed the $1.27 Billion judgment against AMG Capital Management, a payday loan company, on the ground that the FTC may seek only injunctive relief under Section 13(b). Chmn. Pallone noted that he had attempted “for over two years” to add to the FTC’s Section 13(b) authority, a “legislative fix the FTC has unanimously sought.” The Chairman stated that “we cannot wait any longer” and urged the Committee to support the bill “to put consumers first.”For more information about any of these items, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
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