FCC To Collaborate with the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania to Address Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Enforcement
On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the formalization of agreements with four states—Connecticut, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania—to collaboratively address privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity enforcement. Through the signing of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the attorneys general of these states, the FCC aims to establish a unified approach, leveraging shared expertise and resources in the enforcement of privacy laws and regulations. This strategic collaboration not only marks a significant milestone for the FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, launched earlier this year by FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel but also serves as a pioneering initiative in fostering joint efforts with state law enforcement.
In a statement, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized the collective responsibility of government in safeguarding consumer privacy. She stated, “Defending consumer privacy is an all-of-government responsibility and a shared challenge,” highlighting the need for collaborative endeavors in addressing evolving threats. The MOUs solidify the alignment of legal interests between the FCC and attorneys general in investigating and, when necessary, prosecuting or taking enforcement action concerning privacy, data protection, or cybersecurity issues under sections 201 and 222 of the Communications Act. The agreements, facilitated by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, underscore the commitment to coordinated action and information sharing.
The partnerships aim to enhance efforts in enforcing both federal and state laws, addressing privacy protections comprehensively. Loyaan Egal, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief, emphasized the importance of these collaborations, stating that they will maximize efforts to address risks associated with the misuse or mishandling of sensitive data and combat ongoing threats posed by cybercriminals and foreign adversaries. Egal further highlighted the significance of the partnerships in addressing vulnerabilities arising from the increased use of information and communications technology.
During investigations, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and state investigators will collaborate to gather records, interview witnesses, engage with targets, review consumer complaints, and undertake other crucial steps to build cases against potential wrongdoers. These partnerships are anticipated to provide essential resources for case development and coordination of efforts.
State officials expressed optimism about the collaboration, emphasizing its potential to address a spectrum of privacy and cybersecurity issues, including the persistent challenge of unwanted robocalls. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul affirmed the positive impact of similar state and federal partnerships in combating illegal robocalls, noting that the initiative will provide Illinois with additional resources to investigate and hold accountable those who fail to protect or misuse personal information.
FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force
As we reported earlier this year, Chairwoman Rosenworcel established the Privacy and Data Protection Task Force to work on privacy and data protection issues subject to the Commission’s authority under the Communications Act. Operating as a central hub, the Task Force facilitates coordination across the agency, focusing on rulemaking, enforcement, and public awareness requirements related to privacy and data protection endeavors.
The Task Force actively addresses a spectrum of challenges, including but not limited to SIM swapping scams, port-out fraud, and data breaches. These activities pose heightened risks by exposing consumer information, thereby making it easier for scammers to exploit and pilfer consumers’ cell phone accounts. By strategically coordinating efforts, the Task Force aims to fortify the Commission’s stance on safeguarding consumer privacy and proactively tackling emerging threats in the digital landscape.
CONTACT US NOW if you have questions about data privacy obligations under federal laws and FCC rules
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