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FCC announces new "Privacy and Data Protection Task Force"

On June 14, 2023, the FCC announced that they are creating a new Privacy and Data Protection Task Force that will be charged with coordinating rule-making, enforcement, and public awareness of privacy and data protection issues (including data breaches). 

One of the goals of the new task force is to provide public confidence to consumers that their personal data will be appropriately protected and the FCC believes that they have an important role in the telecommunications sector to ensure that consumers' privacy rights are protected and their information is adequately secured. The FCC outlined that their approach will include: 

  • telecom carrier, interconnected VoIP, cable, and satellite provider responsibilities for privacy and data protection;
  • the important connection between privacy and data protection and supply chain integrity;
  • supply chain vulnerabilities;
  • the consequences of a breach in the supply chain (both to consumer privacy and entities that do not take reasonable steps to protect consumer information); and
  • potential risks to national security through compromised supply chains.

In addition to the new task force, the FCC indicated that they will be addressing some specific security and privacy issues in the telecommunications sector affecting U.S. consumers, such as:

  • SIM Swapping;
  • Access to communication for victims of domestic violence;
  • Protection of consumer data on broadband networks;
  • Notification of consumers and federal law enforcement for certain telecommunications-related breaches across economic sectors;
  • An expanded specialized team to investigate and enforce violations of telecommunications-related privacy and data protection laws;
  • Disclosure of telecommunications and other similar services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security and a reimbursement program to remove such untrusted equipment; and
  • Continued/updated rule-making when necessary and appropriate. 

The potential for increased rule-making and enforcement out of the new task force represents potential increased risks for businesses within the FCC's relatively narrow purview for telecommunications. While the FTC is more active in regulating privacy and cybersecurity for other businesses in other sectors, it is not otherwise included in the FCC's new task force (and have not announced their own). However, you can be sure that the FTC will ultimately adopt similar requirements applicable to a wider range of businesses outside of the telecommunications sector. Businesses should continue to monitor the FCC's and FTC's websites and other announcements for any updates to security and privacy requirements that may affect their specific industries. 

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2023—FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel today announced the establishment of a new Privacy and Data Protection Task Force. This FCC staff working group will coordinate across the agency on the rulemaking, enforcement, and public awareness needs in the privacy and data protection sectors. This will include data breaches – such as those involving telecommunications providers and related to cyber intrusions – and supply chain vulnerabilities involving third-party vendors that service regulated communications providers.


fcc, ftc, data protection, telecommunications, privacy, cybersecurity