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Focus on Regulation

Category Archives: Communications

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Gender stereotyping in UK advertising – staying on the right side of the line

Unlike some other European countries, the UK does not currently have specific rules prohibiting or restricting gender stereotyping in advertising. To date, complaints about ads featuring stereotypical gender roles or characteristics have been brought based on the requirement in the UK non-broadcast and broadcast advertising codes (the CAP Code and BCAP Code) that advertising must

#Ad and the challenges of native advertising and social influencers

Westminster Media Forum recently hosted a seminar to discuss native advertising and social influencer marketing and their measurement, regulation and impact on brands. Industry insiders, advertising agencies, content producers, publishers, influencers and regulators joined forces to discuss the challenges faced by these new models of advertising. Central to these latest trends is the shift in

TCPA for the Boardroom – An Executive Focus

How do you protect your business from costly Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) lawsuits and regulatory enforcement actions? In this webinar, we will focus on the key decisions facing company executives as they navigate TCPA risks and assess compliance strategies. Businesses must stay in touch with their customers and their partners in order to succeed. But

The IoT in the Real World: An Armchair Discussion with Stacey Higginbotham

Connected devices are everywhere and create a wealth of data.  How do we understand and use this data?  And how do we protect it against disclosure and attack?  With questions like these, Stacey Higginbotham, creator of the Internet of Things Podcast and the “Stacey Knows Things” newsletter, launched an “armchair discussion” about the Internet of

FCC Imposes $1.84 Million TCPA Penalty for Fax Advertisements

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently imposed a $1.84 million penalty for sending unsolicited fax advertisements.  According to the agency’s forfeiture order, Scott Malcolm, DSM Supply, LLC and Somaticare, LLC (the “DSM Parties”) sent 115 unsolicited fax advertisements to 26 consumers, primarily health care practitioners, in violation of the FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)

FCC Workshop Reveals Secrets of 5G

The FCC held a Spectrum Frontiers and 5G Workshop last Thursday that Julius Knapp, Chief of the Office of Engineering & Technology, called a “landmark day” in wireless history.  He likened the event to a similar conference thirty years ago when the industry was transitioning from analog to digital technologies, now referred to as the

FCC Circulates Privacy Rulemaking and Announces Commission Vote

On Thursday, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a highly anticipated broadband data privacy and security Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to the other Commissioners, slating the proposals for a full Commission vote at the agency’s March 31 Open Meeting.  The rules would apply to internet service providers (“ISPs”), but organizations throughout the

The FCC Holds Company Owner Liable for $3.4 Million Forfeiture

The FCC recently adopted an order that fined two companies, Calling 10, and Telseven, as well as the owner of both companies, Patrick Hines, $3.4 million for cramming, deceptive marketing practices, and failing to pay required fees.  The FCC concluded that Mr. Hines “personally participated” in the wrongdoing and formed “sham companies to facilitate the

FCC Harmonizes Pole Attachment Rates

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) decision to further harmonize the rates that telecommunications and cable companies pay to attach to “utility” poles was recently published in the Federal Register.  Federal law limits how much pole owners can charge attachers by tying monthly rents to the cost of constructing and maintaining the poles.  These poles are

Sixth Circuit to Hear Oral Argument in Challenge to Municipal Broadband Rules

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral argument for March 17, 2016, in an important case regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) ability to preempt state laws that place restrictions on local municipalities’ ability to provide their own broadband networks.  Today, 20 states limit the ability of local governmental agencies, such as utilities

Supreme Court Decision in Gomez Shifts Attention Back to FCC TCPA Petitions

In January, the United States Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. __ (2016), a significant case for companies defending against consumer and other class actions, including those based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – as well as for contractors working on behalf of the federal government.

¡Bienvenidos a Cuba! FCC Removes Cuba from its Exclusion List for International Section 214 Authorizations

Last Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (the “FCC”) adopted an Order making it easier for telecommunications providers to provide facilities-based services such as undersea submarine cables and satellite services, between the United States and Cuba. As Focus on Regulation previously noted, in December 2014 the Obama Administration took executive action to ease trade sanctions and

FCC Launches Redesigned Website; Consumers and Practitioners Rejoice

On Thursday, December 9, the FCC launched its redesigned website, and it is a great improvement over the last incarnation. The FCC website serves two primary purposes.  It is 1) a portal for consumers, companies, legal practitioners, and other stakeholders to interact with the FCC electronically; and 2) a phone book.  The previous website frustrated

FCC Implements Additional Accessibility Requirements for Navigation Devices and Digital Apparatus

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released its second order (“Second CVAA Order”) further implementing the accessibility goals established in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (“CVAA”) passed by Congress in 2010.  The Second CVAA Order, which builds on the FCC’s 2013 order (“First CVAA Order”), imposes new requirements on multichannel video

FCC Releases Waiver Order and Two Declaratory Rulings on TCPA Fax Rules

Today the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released three Orders relating to the fax requirements under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”). Under the TCPA, it is unlawful for a person to use a fax machine, computer, or other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone fax machine unless there is an established

FCC Clarifies TCPA Requirements, Creating New Burdens on Callers

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Order clarifying a number of unsettled issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  The decision, which has not yet been released, is in response to more than twenty petitions seeking clarification.  The vote was 3-2 along party lines and is expected to have

Government Contractor Asks U.S. Supreme Court for TCPA Relief Through Derivative Sovereign Immunity

Highlighting the intersection between government contracts, communications privacy, and class action litigation, the United States Supreme Court recently received a petition for a writ of certiorari asking it to rule on whether derivative sovereign immunity should be extended to a government contractor’s violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  The Petitioner, Campbell-Ewald Co., was

Three Trends that May Change the Way You Think About the “Internet of Things” – Lessons from the Winnik Forum

New charging technology and more sophisticated power use are among the major new trends remaking the face of the Internet of Things, according to Aryeh Fishman, Associate General Counsel of Edison Electric Institute.  Fishman’s remarks came as leading experts in telecommunications law and policy and industry executives gathered at the Hogan Lovells 2014 Winnik International

Industry Recommends Market Solutions for Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Law Enforcement Access Challenges for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things raises new concerns about privacy, security and law enforcement access.  Rather than develop new rules for new devices, industry experts convened during the 2014 Winnik International Telecoms & Internet Forum recommended allowing the market to try solve these challenges before the government steps in. In May 2014, the President’s Council of

Winnik Forum: U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Chief Engineer Explains that Flexible Use Spectrum Policy Will Readily Accommodate the Internet of Things

During the 2014 Winnik Forum, Julius Knapp, Chief of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Office of Engineering and Technology, rejected proposals to dedicate spectrum bands exclusively to Internet of Things applications.  According to Knapp, the FCC’s current “flexible use” rules for licensed and unlicensed spectrum can accommodate varied and yet-to-be-imagined applications, “negat[ing] the need

Winnik Forum – Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen Keynote Address

As the keynote speaker for the Winnik Forum, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen sat down with Chris Wolf, Director of Hogan Lovells’ Privacy and Information Management Practice to discuss the evolving role of the FTC as we enter an era of “Big Data” and the “Internet of Things.”  Commissioner Ohlhausen offered her

Winnik Forum: Drafting Legislation for the Internet of Things

One of the challenges facing regulators as they craft rules to govern the Internet of Things is that traditional industry silos that were the basis for past legislation may no longer apply.  As part of the 2014 Winnik Forum, Hogan Lovells’ partners Michele Farquhar and Trey Hanbury joined two senior staff members from the U.S.

FCC Chairman Proposes to Extend Video Programming Rights to Over-the-Top Video Providers

On October 28, 2014, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he is proposing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to extend legacy cable program access and broadcast retransmission rights to the over-the-top (“OTT”) video market.  Chairman Wheeler explained that such regulations are necessary to ensure the availability of cable and television broadcast