On Monday, May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its highly anticipated opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, a case that examined the question of whether a plaintiff who ...25 May 2016
Court Allows FTC to Move Forward in "Common Carrier" Exemption Case
The FTC’s two-count complaint alleged that AT&T’s throttling program was unfair because it changed the terms of customers’ unlimited data plans while those customers were still under contract, and AT&T failed to adequately disclose the nature of the throttling program to consumers who renewed their unlimited data plans.
AT&T argued that its status as a communications common carrier means that it is exempt from key provisions in the FTC Act, while the FTC argued that the exemption is not tied to the "status" of an entity but rather the activities conducted by the entity—and the court agreed.
During the pendency of this proceeding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified retail mobile broadband data services from non–common carrier “information services” to common carrier “telecommunications services.” The court disagreed with AT&T’s argument that once the FCC’s Order becomes effective, the FTC will no longer have jurisdiction to pursue this case, noting that the FCC's Order by its express terms is prospective and will not deprive the FTC of any jurisdiction over past alleged misconduct.
Having survived AT&T’s motion to dismiss, the FTC’s action will proceed to the next phase. No date has been set yet for trial. The case is FTC v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. C-14-4785 (N.D. Cal.).
Katherine Armstrong, Counsel in our Washington, D.C. office, contributed to this post.
The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) has announced its inspections program topics for 2016, with health data, flight passengers’ data, and data used for marketing and Internet...20 May 2016