FCC CPNI Enforcements
September 19, 2008
by: Jennifer Begin
In the last several months the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) shocked many carriers with heavy fines related to noncompliance of their updated Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) regulations. CPNI is the information that telecommunications carriers acquire about their subscribers from call detail records (CDRs). It includes not only what services they use, but their amount & type of usage. The FCC generally prohibits the use of that information without customer permission. CPNI includes such information as optional services subscribed to, current charges, directory assistance charges, usage data, & calling patterns.
The year 2008 has seen many changes to the privacy rules originally adopted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Commission strengthened its privacy rules, by adopting additional safeguards to protect CPNI against unauthorized access & disclosure. In previous years it was the carrier’s responsibility to have an officer annually sign an internally maintained compliance certificate stating that the officer had personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures that are adequate to ensure compliance & also a statement explaining how its operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in compliance with the rules. However, this year the FCC required for the first time that the CPNI certificates & statements be filed with the FCC by March 1, 2008.
Those companies that did not follow this new requirement may receive letters from the FCC asking them to provide previous compliance certificates & may receive fines ranging from $4,000 to $100,000 if the FCC determines that there is indeed a noncompliance issue. For further information on CPNI requirements please see the FCC’s site: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/CPNI/Welcome.html.
NetworkIP encourages you to make sure you are in compliance with this filing requirement & consult an attorney should you receive a notice from the FCC concerning this issue.
* This article is strictly an overview & not to be construed as legal advice. You will need to apply this general information to your entity-specific situation & may need to seek legal advice to ensure you are in full compliance with the federal & state laws for telecommunications companies.