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April, 2018


In the vast maze of federal bureaucracy, there is just one agency whose sole mission is to “protect consumers by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices.”  It is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Yet from 2015-2017, a different agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), forced the FTC off the beat, dusted off rules written during the Great Depression and imposed them on a single corner of the online world&m


Following years of simmering national security concerns regarding the presence of Chinese products and services in U.S telecommunications networks, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in advance of an April 17, 2018 Commission vote. The explanation for the swift FCC action came in a statement by FCC Chairman Pai who reportedly was recently briefed on the matter by the intelligence community.


The folks over at Government Technology undertook an interesting exercise recently – they examined State of the State addresses to get a sense of whether technology is on the minds of the nation’s governors. The result? Broadband and cybersecurity are priorities nationwide.


USTelecom Vice President of Law & Policy Diane Holland recently joined Acting FTC Chief Technologist Neil Chilson for a webinar to discuss the FTC’s restored role of ensuring net neutrality protections for consumers and competition.


Tomorrow, in the most public way possible, Congress will turn its focus to Facebook, social media privacy, and user’s data security. With the klieg lights on, they will debate two profoundly important questions at the heart of the integrity and viability of the internet: how can we better protect the digital rights of America’s consumers, and what are the proper responsibilities both of government and industry in doing so?  


The following remarks were delivered by Jonathan Spalter, President and CEO, USTelecom before the Ohio Telecom Association on April 10, 2018

Thank you, Charlie, for the invitation to join you and the work you and this organization do every day connecting Ohio communities and families to broadband’s many opportunities. The $4 billion and 16,000 jobs the Ohio telecom industry contributes each year to the state’s economy is impressive, and your work demanding a level playing field for your companies and your investments are essential.


On April 10th and 11th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about Facebook’s use of data and the implications on their user’s privacy. Zuckerberg was the lone panelist at both hearings held in the wake of troubling revelations stemming from Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook data and concerns about Facebook’s influence on elections.
Monetizing User Data


USTelecom and our members work in industry forums to develop solutions to stay ahead of the many sophisticated ways criminals manipulate calling services to harass consumers. Strong enforcement against illegal robocallers remains critical, and we continue to work closely with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and federal and state prosecutors to identify and shut down illegal calling operations. 


On April 18th I testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation this week on the issue of robocalls.  During the testimony, I emphasized the increasing number of tools available to consumers to label and block robocalls, including many deployed by USTelecom’s member companies.  


Testimony of Kevin Rupy, Vice President, Law and Policy, USTelecom