LocateCell is hit with FCC fine – more to follow?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a fine against the Internet-based data broker of cell phone and telephone subscriber call logs, 1st Source Information Specialists (LocateCell). The press release only names one company but at least 40 Web sites were listed in the EPIC petition.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today found that LocateCell apparently “willfully or repeatedly” violated a Commission order by failing to provide information and documents required by a subpoena. For this failure, the Commission issued a $97,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against LocateCell.

Specifically, the subpoena required LocateCell to provide information and documents relating to its website advertisement for the sale of consumers’ private telephone records and other customer proprietary network information. The company failed to fully respond to the subpoena and a subsequent Citation. Because LocateCell’s response to the subpoena remains deficient, the Commission proposed the maximum forfeiture for a continuing violation by a non-common carrier of $97,500.

The FCC Commissioners provided a recap of the history of their investigation and statements reflecting the basis for this determination. Commissioner McDowell alludes to the possibility of further fines being levied against similar companies.

LocateCell is not the only company from which the Commission has sought information. Our Enforcement Bureau has been actively investigating a number of these data brokers, many of which have
advertised the availability of records of wireless subscribers’ incoming and outgoing telephone calls, as well as certain landline toll call records, for a fee. The Bureau is also investigating the alleged failure of
carriers to certify compliance with our CPNI rules, and is vigorously pursuing non-compliant companies.
These investigations will continue, and I thank the Bureau for its work in moving these initiatives forward.

View the Webcast of the FCC meeting.

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