The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
On February 3, 2014, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act, a bill that would reduce the likelihood that hackers can steal consumers’ personal and financial information. Among other things, the bill would:
- Deter Preventable Breaches by creating a process for helping companies to establish appropriate security plans to safeguard sensitive consumer information and holding them accountable for failing to comply with these plans;
- Minimize Consumer Harm by requiring companies to promptly notify consumers after a breach has occurred and provide consumers with a number of remedies to help mitigate the risk of damage and help make them whole again.
- Promote Technical Information-Sharing by facilitating better information-sharing between federal agencies, law enforcement, and the private sector to alert businesses of specific threats.
Blumenthal said, “This bill will give consumers much stronger, industry-wide protections against massive thefts of private financial information by hackers and digital thieves. Stiffer enforcement with stringent penalties are vital to assure that retailers use state of the art safeguards. ”
Other legislation to protect consumers from data breaches was introduced in late January by Senators Rockefeller, Feinstein, Pryor, and Nelson. See our February 3, 2014 Blog “New Bill Aims To Protect Consumers From Data Breaches”
US House of Representatives
The Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology announced it scheduled a hearing on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, entitled “Lessons Learned from the Broadband Stimulus.” Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only. The hearing webcast will be available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.
The FCC is seeking comment on a request by the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) for a waiver of the FCC’s rules regarding non-exogenous cost data filing requirements for the Short Form Tariff Review Plan to be filed by its price cap LEC members. Comments are due February 19, 2014; reply comments are due March 3, 2014. Specifically, USTelecom is seeking a waiver from the requirement that price cap LECs submit PC-1 and IND-1 forms as part of the Short Form TRP. USTelecom said that carriers granted waivers would continue to file the EXG-1Form and their exogenous cost work papers. USTelecom is also seeking a delay in the deadline for filing the Short Form TRP, until May 19, 2014. USTelecom notes that a similar waiver was requested and granted the last three years.
The FCC has issued its 2014 Enforcement Advisory reminding telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that they must file their annual CPNI certifications by March 1. The Advisory notes that in prior years many companies failed to file or filed certificates that violated the FCC’s rules in material respects and reminds providers that failure to comply with the annual certification requirement, may subject them to enforcement action, including monetary forfeitures. See our upcoming Blog for more details.
The Public Service Commission approved a request by a number of CenturyLink Inc. subsidiaries and affiliates to restructure internally and change their names. In its order, the PSC said it had received no objections to the request, which was made in December.
See the Order here.
The PUC issued a Tentative Order seeking comments on the Office of Competitive Market Oversight (OCMO) recommendation to investigate making a more supplier-oriented utility consolidated electric bill. The OCMO recommends the inclusion of the electric generation supplier’s (EGS) logo on the bill; the expansion of bill messaging space allotted to EGSs; and the inclusion of a Shopping Information Box. The Commission believes that these three proposals will aid the customer in developing a stronger recognition of his or her EGS and will increase customer awareness when participating in the competitive retail electric market.
Interested parties have until March 8, 2014, days to file comments. Instructions on how to file comments may be found in the Tentative Order.
See press release here.