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                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554




                                         )                               
                                                                         
                                         )                               
                                                                         
                                         )                               
                                                                         
     In the Matter of                    )   File No. EB-06-TC-3411      
                                                                         
     Oneida County Rural Telephone Co.   )   NAL/Acct. No. 200732170023  
                                                                         
     Apparent Liability for Forfeiture   )   FRN: 0004337218             
                                                                         
                                         )                               
                                                                         
                                         )                               
                                                                         
                                         )                               


                  NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

   Adopted:  March 29, 2007 Released:  March 29, 2007

   By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

   I. INTRODUCTION

   1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
   that Oneida County Rural Telephone Co. ("Oneida") apparently violated
   section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules by failing to provide a
   statement accompanying its annual certification explaining how its
   operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in compliance with the
   Commission's rules governing protection and use of customer proprietary
   network information ("CPNI"). Protection of CPNI is a fundamental
   obligation of all telecommunications carriers as provided by section 222
   of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Communications Act" or
   "Act"). Based upon our review of the facts and circumstances surrounding
   this apparent violation, and in particular, the serious consequences that
   may flow from inadequate concern for and protection of CPNI, we propose a
   monetary forfeiture of $100,000 against Oneida for its apparent failure to
   comply with section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules.

   II. BACKGROUND

   2. The Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") has been investigating the adequacy
   of procedures implemented by telecommunications carriers to ensure
   confidentiality of their subscribers' CPNI, based on concerns regarding
   the apparent availability to third parties of sensitive, personal
   subscriber information. For example, some companies, known as "data
   brokers," have advertised the availability of records of wireless
   subscribers' incoming and outgoing telephone calls for a fee. Data brokers
   have also advertised the availability of call information that relates to
   certain landline toll calls.

   3. As part of our inquiry into these issues, the Bureau sent a Letter of
   Inquiry ("LOI") to Oneida on November 2, 2006, directing it to produce the
   compliance certificates for the previous five (5) years that it had
   prepared pursuant to section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules. On
   November 10, 2006, Oneida submitted a document in response to the Bureau's
   LOI. The document submitted by Oneida does not satisfy the requirements
   set forth in the rule. Accordingly, we issue this proposed forfeiture.

   III. DISCUSSION

   4. Section 222 imposes the general duty on all telecommunications carriers
   to protect the confidentiality of their subscribers' proprietary
   information. The Commission has issued rules implementing section 222 of
   the Act. The Commission required carriers to establish and maintain a
   system designed to ensure that carriers adequately protected their
   subscribers' CPNI. Section 64.2009(e) is one such requirement. Pursuant to
   section 64.2009(e):

   A telecommunications carrier must have an officer, as an agent of the
   carrier, sign a compliance certificate on an annual basis stating that the
   officer has personal knowledge that the company has established operating
   procedures that are adequate to ensure compliance with the rules in this
   subpart. The carrier must provide a statement accompanying the certificate
   explaining how its operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in
   compliance with the rules in this subpart.

   5. The Bureau's November 2 LOI directed Oneida to produce the company's
   compliance certificates for the previous five (5) years that it had
   prepared in compliance with section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules.
   On November 10, 2006, Oneida submitted its response. The response includes
   a general certification of CPNI compliance for each of the last five
   years, but failed to provide a "statement accompanying the certificate
   explaining how its operating procedures ensure that it is or is not in
   compliance with the rules in this subpart," as required by the rules.
   Accordingly, Oneida's submission, on its face, does not comply with
   section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules. Further, Oneida has not
   provided any additional information in response to our request
   demonstrating that it has otherwise complied with the Commission's CPNI
   rules by preparing and maintaining a certificate and accompanying
   statement that satisfies the requirements of section 64.2009(e).

   6. We conclude that Oneida has apparently failed to comply with the
   requirement that it provide a statement adequately explaining how the
   company's established operating procedures are or are not sufficient to
   ensure compliance with the Commission's CPNI rules. For this apparent
   violation, we propose a forfeiture.

   IV. FORFEITURE AMOUNT

   7. Section 503(b) of the Communications Act authorizes the Commission to
   assess a forfeiture of up to $130,000 for each violation of the Act or of
   any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission under the Act. The
   Commission may assess this penalty if it determines that the carrier's
   noncompliance is "willful or repeated." For a violation to be willful, it
   need not be intentional. In exercising our forfeiture authority, we are
   required to take into account "the nature, circumstances, extent, and
   gravity of the violation and, with respect to the violator, the degree of
   culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and such other
   matters as justice may require." In addition, the Commission has
   established guidelines for forfeiture amounts and, where there is no
   specific base amount for a violation, retained discretion to set an amount
   on a case-by-case basis.

   8. The Commission's forfeiture guidelines do not address the specific
   violation at issue in this proceeding. In determining the proper
   forfeiture amount in this case, however, we are guided by the principle
   that there may be no more important obligation on a carrier's part than
   protection of its subscribers' proprietary information. Consumers are
   increasingly concerned about the security of their sensitive, personal
   data that they must entrust to their various service providers, whether
   they are financial institutions or telephone companies. Given customers'
   increasing concern about the security of this data, and evidence that the
   data appears to be widely available to third parties, we must take
   aggressive, substantial steps to ensure that carriers implement necessary
   and adequate measures to protect their subscribers' CPNI, as required by
   the Commission's existing CPNI rules. Additionally, in three recent
   actions, the Commission has issued Notices of Apparent Liability for
   Forfeiture in the amount of $100,000 against carriers for failure to
   maintain certifications in compliance with section 64.2009(e) of the
   Commission's rules. In this case, Oneida has apparently failed to
   implement necessary and adequate measures as required to protect their
   subscribers' CPNI data entrusted to them, as evidenced by the apparent
   insufficiency of the required compliance statement. Based on all the facts
   and circumstances present in this case, we believe the proposed forfeiture
   of $100,000 is warranted.

   9. Oneida will have the opportunity to submit further evidence and
   arguments in response to this NAL to show that no forfeiture should be
   imposed or that some lesser amount should be assessed. For example, Oneida
   may present evidence that it has compelling financial arguments to reduce
   the proposed forfeiture or that it has maintained a history of overall
   compliance. To support a claim of inability to pay, the petitioner must
   submit: (1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
   financial statements prepared according to generally accepted accounting
   practices (GAAP); or (3) some other reliable and objective documentation
   that accurately reflects the petitioner's current financial status. Any
   claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for the
   claim by reference to the financial documentation submitted. The
   Commission will fully consider any such arguments made by Oneida in its
   response to this NAL.

   V. CONCLUSION AND ordering clauses

   10. We have determined that Oneida County Rural Telephone Company has
   apparently violated Section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules by
   failing to prepare and maintain an adequate compliance statement in
   accordance with the rule. We find Oneida apparently liable for $100,000.

   11. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
   Communications Act of 1934, as amended, Section 1.80(f)(4) of the
   Commission's rules, and authority delegated by Sections 0.111 and 0.311 of
   the Commission's rules, Oneida County Rural Telephone Company IS LIABLE
   FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars
   ($100,000) for willfully or repeatedly violating Section 64.2009 of the
   Commission's rules, by failing to prepare and maintain a certificate that
   complies with 64.2009(e).

   12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to section 1.80 of the
   Commission's rules, within thirty days of the release date of this NOTICE
   OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Oneida County Rural Telephone Company SHALL PAY the
   full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
   seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

   13. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
   payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The payment
   must include the NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above. Payment by
   check or money order may be mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section,
   Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 358340,
   Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Mellon
   Client Service Center, 500 Ross Street, Room 670, Pittsburgh, PA
   15262-0001. Attn: FCC Module Supervisor. Payment by wire transfer may be
   made to ABA Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account
   number 911-6229. Please include your NAL/Acct. No. with your wire transfer
   remittance. Requests for payment of the full amount of this NAL under an
   installment plan should be sent to Chief, Credit and Management Center,
   445 12^th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.

   14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by
   Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested to Thomas Ellis, Executive Vice
   President, Oneida County Rural Telephone Co., 9560 Main Street, Holland
   Patent, NY 13354.

   FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

   Kris A. Monteith

   Chief, Enforcement Bureau

   See 47 C.F.R. S64.2009(e).

   CPNI is defined as information that relates to the quantity, technical
   configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of a
   telecommunications service subscribed to by any customer of a
   telecommunications carrier, and that is made available to the carrier by
   the customer solely by virtue of the customer-carrier relationship. See 47
   U.S.C. S 222(h)(1)(A); 47 C.F.R. S 64.2003(d).

   See, e.g. http://www.epic.org/privacy/iei/.

   See id.

   Letter from Marcy Greene, Deputy Chief, Telecommunications Consumers
   Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, to Thomas
   Ellis, Executive Vice President, Oneida County Rural Telephone Co.
   (November 2, 2006) ("November 2 LOI").

   Section 222 of the Communications Act provides that: "Every
   telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of
   proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunications
   carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including
   telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided
   by a telecommunications carrier." 47 U.S.C S 222.

   In the Matter of Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996:
   Telecommunications Carriers' Use of Customer Proprietary Network
   Information and Other Customer Information and Implementation of the
   Non-Accounting Safeguards of Sections 271 and 272 of the Communications
   Act of 1934, as amended,  Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
   13 FCC Rcd 8061 (1998) ("CPNI Order"); see also  In the Matter of
   Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: Telecommunications
   Carriers' Use of Customer Proprietary Network Information and Other
   Customer Information and Implementation of the Non-Accounting Safeguards
   of Sections 271 and 272 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
   Order on Reconsideration and Petitions for Forbearance,  14 FCC Rcd 14409
   (1999);  In the Matter of Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of
   1996: Telecommunications Carriers' Use of Customer Proprietary Network
   Information and Other Customer Information and Implementation of the
   Non-Accounting Safeguards of Sections 271 and 272 of the Communications
   Act of 1934, as amended; 2000 Biennial Regulatory Review -- Review of
   Policies and Rules Concerning Unauthorized Changes of Consumers' Long
   Distance Carriers,  Third Report and Order and Third Further Notice of
   Proposed Rulemaking, 17 FCC Rcd 14860 (2002).

   47 C.F.R. S 64.2009(e).

   47 C.F.R. S64.2009; see also supra note 5, at 2.

   47 C.F.R. S 64.2009(e).

   Section 503(b)(2)(B) provides for forfeitures against common carriers of
   up to $130,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation up
   to a maximum of $1,325,000 for each continuing violation.  47 U.S.C. S
   503(b)(2)(B). See Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules and
   Adjustment of Forfeiture Maxima to Reflect Inflation, 15 FCC Rcd 18221
   (2000); Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules and Adjustment
   of Forfeiture Maxima to Reflect Inflation, 19 FCC Rcd 10945 (2004)
   (increasing maximum forfeiture amounts to account for inflation).

   47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(1)(B) (the Commission has authority under this section
   of the Act to assess a forfeiture penalty against a common carrier if the
   Commission determines that the carrier has "willfully or repeatedly"
   failed to comply with the provisions of the Act or with any rule,
   regulation, or order issued by the Commission under the Act); see also 47
   U.S.C. S 503(b)(4)(A) (providing that the Commission must assess such
   penalties through the use of a written notice of apparent liability or
   notice of opportunity for hearing). Here, as described above, Oneida's
   actions were willful as it apparently failed to prepare the required
   compliance certification.

   Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).

   See 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(D); see also The Commission's Forfeiture Policy
   Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC
   Rcd 17087 (1997) ("Forfeiture Policy Statement"); recon. denied, 15 FCC
   Rcd 303 (1999).

   Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd 17098-99, P 22.

   AT&T, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 21 FCC Rcd 751
   (Enf. Bur. rel. Jan. 30, 2006); Alltel Corp., Notice of Apparent Liability
   for Forfeiture, 21 FCC Rcd 746 (Enf. Bur. rel. Jan 30, 2006); Cbeyond
   Communications LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 21 FCC
   Rcd 4316 (Enf. Bur. rel. April 21, 2006).

   47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(4)(A).

   47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(4)(C); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(f)(3).

   47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(4) (discussing factors the Commission or its designee
   will consider in deciding appropriate forfeiture amount).

   47 U.S.C. S 503(b).

   47 C.F.R. S 1.80(f)(4).

   47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311.

   (...continued from previous page)

                                                              (continued....)

   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1415

   2

   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1415