Capital Thinking: Technology and Communications

Legislative Activity

Senators Introduce Data Breach Legislation

Last Thursday, January 30, four Democratic senators introduced the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2014, which would require the Federal Trade Commission to issue data security standards for companies that hold consumers’ personal and financial information. The bill also would implement requirements for the prompt notification of customers in the event of a data breach. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Monday, February 3: The Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Security and International Trade and Finance will hold a hearing on safeguarding consumers’ financial data.
  • Tuesday February 4: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Privacy in the Digital Age: Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime.”
  • Wednesday, February 5: The House Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing on consumer data breaches.
  • Thursday, February 6: The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on oversight of financial stability and data security.

Regulatory Activity

FCC Holds January Open Meeting

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the following actions at its open meeting last Thursday, January 30:

  1. The FCC adopted a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and Notice of Inquiry inviting proposals for voluntary experiments to evaluate how consumers will be impacted by the transition to Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The experiments are intended to focus on how to preserve and enhance the core values of public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection through the IP transition. In particular, the FCC will invite service providers to submit proposals to initiate trials of IP-based alternatives in discrete geographic areas. Proposals are due by February 20. The FCC will invite public comment on the proposals until March 31 and will then issue a final decision on the proposals at its open meeting in May. Separately, the FCC also plans to authorize targeted experiments and research focusing on (a) bringing advanced broadband services to rural areas; (b) using IP-based technologies to improve relay services for people with disabilities; (c) analyzing telephone numbering issues in an all-IP environment; and (d) improving the FCC’s data collection practices.
  2. The FCC adopted a policy statement outlining its objectives for ensuring that text-to-911 services are available for all Americans. While the nation’s four largest carriers previously committed to make text-to-911 service available to their customers by May 15, 2014, in areas where 911 call centers are prepared to receive texts, the FCC encouraged providers that have not begun deploying text-to-911 services to develop voluntary solutions to do so. The FCC adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) proposing to require that text-to-911 service be made available by all text providers by the end of the year. The FNPRM also seeks comment on implementation and technical issues.
  3. The FCC received a status update from the Incentive Auction Task Force. The presentation included a roadmap for the auction process, which projects the release of a Report and Order in mid-2014, additional public notices regarding auction procedures during the second half of 2014, the auction application process in early 2015, and commencement of bidding in mid-2015.
  4. The FCC also received a report from the staff working group on FCC process reform. The FCC plans to seek public comment on the report’s recommendations on how to improve the agency’s process.

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda For February Open Meeting

Last Thursday, January 30, the FCC released a tentative agenda for its February open meeting. The FCC is expected to consider the following items:

  1. A Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and FNPRM addressing the quality and technical compliance of television closed captioning to ensure that video programming is fully accessible to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  2. A Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to ensure that accurate location information is provided to public safety officials for all wireless 911 calls.

This Week’s Deadlines:

  • Monday, February 3: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s NPRM initiating a review of the agency’s wireless infrastructure policies.
  • Monday, February 3: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s public notice seeking updated information in the current state of closed captioning of IP-delivered video clips.