A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc. has interrupted the emerging consensus around the definition of “autodialer” in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. On April 7, 2020, a Second Circuit panel joined a Ninth Circuit panel in adopting a broad reading of the statutory definition of “automatic telephone dialing system,” commonly referred to as an autodialer. The Duran decision also rejected the reasoning in opinions issued by panels in the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits earlier this year, which deepens the split between the Courts of Appeals and increases the pressure on the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and even the U.S. Supreme Court to provide clarity on what constitutes an autodialer under the TCPA.
Slowly but surely, the U.S. Courts of Appeal increasingly agree on how to interpret the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. On February 19, 2020, a unanimous Seventh Circuit panel refused to revise a putative class action in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc. after concluding that the dialing system used by AT&T did not qualify as an autodialer. Like the Eleventh Circuit in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC and Third Circuit in Dominguez v. Yahoo, Inc., the Seventh Circuit held that an “autodialer” must use “a random or sequential number generator” to either store or produce numbers. Because the system used by AT&T simply pulled numbers from a database, the court found that the system was not an autodialer and the texts did not violate the TCPA.
On January 27, 2020, an Eleventh Circuit panel released a landmark ruling in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC. The key issue in the case was how to interpret ambiguous language in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s definition of “automatic telephone dialing system”. In recent years, imprecise statutory phrasing and the Federal Communication Commission’s liberal reading of the legislative history empowered plaintiffs to assert TCPA claims based on a wide array of calling systems. The Eleventh Circuit panel’s decision in Glasser rejects that trend, joins the D.C. Circuit in adopting a much narrower view of the TCPA’s scope, and establishes a clear circuit split with the Ninth Circuit.
On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision in PDR v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic. The Court was expected to provide greater clarity about the extent to which litigants can challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act interpretations in private litigation. Instead of deciding that issue, however, the Court vacated the Fourth Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case for further development. How the Fourth Circuit rules on remand may ultimately provide more insight on how much deference is owed to the FCC’s TCPA interpretations.
Now that the dust has settled from the D.C. Circuit’s highly anticipated Telephone Consumer Protection Act decision in ACA International, et al, v. FCC, the Federal Communications Commission is going back to the drawing board in a new Public Notice that seeks comment on foundational TCPA issues.
Growing evidence suggests that existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act compliance challenges, and the current TCPA litigation landscape, are increasingly a threat to many U.S. companies – particularly small businesses that have fewer resources and could face financial ruin if targeted by a class action lawsuit. To help address this issue and support the U.S. economy, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission should revise the current TCPA framework and facilitate reasonable, practical compliance approaches for companies attempting in good faith to communicate with customers.
The Federal Communications Commission’s Media Relations Office has released a statement announcing Chairman Pai’s intention to stay a data security rule adopted by the Commission late last year in its Broadband Privacy Order. Absent a stay, the rule is set to go into effect on March 2.
On Thursday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a highly anticipated broadband data privacy and security Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 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, but organizations throughout the online data ecosystem will want to pay close attention to this rulemaking and be prepared to comment on the FCC’s proposals.
On January 31, 2016, the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado hosted its annual Digital Broadband Migration Symposium. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Evolving Industry Structure of the Digital Broadband Landscape.” The two-day conference brought together an array of leaders from government, academia, and industry to examine the role of regulatory oversight, antitrust law, and intellectual property policy in regulating industry structure and to discuss what policy reforms may be appropriate for the constantly changing digital broadband environment. As outlined below, a recurring topic throughout this year’s conference was the relationship between privacy, security, and the evolving digital landscape.
On October 11, 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report titled “Mobile Device Location Data: Additional Federal Actions Could Help Protect Consumer Privacy.” Requested by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), the Report recognizes the efforts of Federal agencies to protect consumer privacy when using mobile devices but calls for additional action
Comments filed recently with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) show a deep divide over whether the agency should pursue further action to address privacy and security of information stored on mobile devices. Reply comments are due soon.
The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $2.96 million forfeiture against Travel Club Marketing, Inc. for apparent violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and related FCC rules regarding the delivery of prerecorded messages, as well as its Caller ID rules. This enforcement action serves as a reminder to companies placing autodialed calls or delivering prerecorded messages to ensure that such calls and messages comply with federal and state laws. Otherwise, they risk not only class action litigation, but also potential regulatory enforcement fines that are imposed on a per-call basis.
The FCC’s National Broadband Plan signals that the Commission will take an expanded role in privacy-related consumer protection issues. This blog entry details the privacy-related aspects of the Plan.
The Federal Communications Commission released a Public Notice this week seeking further comment on numerous privacy issues as part of its National Broadband Plan proceeding. Based on questions raised in a recent Center for Democracy & Technology filing, some of the broad issues that the Notice seeks comment on include: Consumer expectations of privacy, and how to […]