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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 17

Date: Apr 25, 2011

Congressional Bills, iPhone Tracking Intensify Focus on Privacy and Data Security

Recent developments in privacy and data security underscore the need for companies to assess their data collection and use practices. Two congressional bills were recently introduced, one co-sponsored by Senators John Kerry and John McCain and one sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns, that govern the collection, use and transfer of information about consumers. Both bills would apply to most commercial and non-profit entities that collect or use covered information on more than 5,000 individuals in any 12-month period, with some exceptions, and covered information is broadly defined under the Kerry/McCain bill to include more than just "personally identifiable information." Meanwhile, Apple's privacy practices are being questioned after the revelation of the iPhone's collection and storage of customers' location data in an unencrypted format. For more information on these or other privacy and data security issues, contact Keller and Heckman partner Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com, 202.434.4234).

Re-Issued Part 101 Licenses Create Confusion

Many microwave and land mobile licensees recently received duplicate licenses from the FCC after renewing these licenses earlier this year. The duplicate licenses indicate that the renewal application was "conditionally granted" pending the resolution of an FCC Order. The FCC's Order referenced on the duplicate licenses proposes to change the Commission's rules by requiring certain licensees to certify on each renewal application that the underlying license is still operational. Under the current rules, licensees are only required to certify that a land mobile system is operating within the initial 12-month buildout deadline. The buildout deadline for microwave licenses is 18 months. We have spoken with FCC staff and the Commission confirmed that it does not intend to revoke licenses that have been conditionally granted as long as the underlying system remains operational. The Commission may require licensees to certify that land mobile and microwave licenses are operating when filing renewal applications in the future. The text of the FCC's Order is available here. For more information, contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Maritime Communications/Land Mobile LLC Designated for Hearing

On Tuesday, the FCC released an Order to Show Cause, Hearing Designation Order, and Notice of Opportunity for Hearing regarding Maritime Communications/Land Mobile LLC's ("MCLM's") AMTS licenses (217/219 MHz) acquired in Auction 61. The proceeding is investigating MCLM's claimed bidding credits in the auction, potential misinformation on its applications, and the construction status of its licenses.

Transfer of Control Applications Filed in AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

The review process continues at the FCC for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. On April 21st, the two parties filed applications seeking Commission consent for the transfer of T-Mobile's licenses to AT&T. The Commission released a Public Notice acknowledging the applications and noting that deadlines for pleadings relating to the applications would be established at a later date. For the full text of the FCC's Public Notice regarding the applications, click here.

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