FCC fines telcos over customer privacy requirements

The Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau released a statement saying it plans to fine more than 600 mostly small telecom service providers thousands of dollars each in fines related to their failure to file paperwork required as part of the agency's Customer Proprietary Network Information program.

The CPNI filing requirements are in place to ensure that telcos and other service providers certify that they fully protect customer data, a concern raised in recent years by consumer groups after list brokers allegedly were selling phone records obtained through pretexting--obtaining private customer information under false circumstances.

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the fines were part of the agency's effort to "make consumer privacy protection a top priority." The FCC's Omnibus Notice of Apparent Liability (a rather ominous-sounding omnibus) issued yesterday said companies that didn't file CPNI will face fines of $20,000 or more, while companies that filed non-compliant paperwork will be hit with penalties up to $10,000. 2008 represented the first full year for which CPNI filings were required.

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story

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