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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
) File No. EB-06-TC-4731
Connect Paging, Inc. d/b/a Get A
Phone ) NAL/Acct. No. 200732170054
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ) FRN: 0013394028
Adopted: August 10, 2007 Released: August 10, 2007
By the Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000) against Connect Paging, Inc.
d/b/a Get A Phone ("Connect" or "Company"). Connect violated a Commission
order by failing to respond to the directive of the Enforcement Bureau
("Bureau") to provide certain information and documents. Connect acted in
willful or repeated violation of Section 503(b) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, ("Act") and Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules
2. On March 27, 2007, the Bureau issued to Connect a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") proposing a forfeiture in the amount of
four thousand dollars ($4,000) based on Connect's apparent violation of
the Bureau's directive. The NAL gave Connect the option of paying the
proposed forfeiture or of filing a response to the NAL stating why the
proposed forfeiture should either not be assessed or should be reduced.
The NAL was sent by certified mail to Connect's last known address.
Connect filed a response to the NAL on April 27, 2007. Based on the
information contained therein, we affirm this forfeiture.
3. The 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
4. As part of our inquiry into these issues, the Bureau sent Letters of
Inquiry ("LOIs") to several carriers, including Connect, directing them to
submit their certifications for the previous five (5) years prepared in
compliance with section 64.2009(e) of the Commission's rules. Connect did
not respond to the LOI. Accordingly, on March 27, 2007, the Bureau issued
the NAL to Connect for its failure to respond to the directive of the
5. On April 27, 2007, Connect submitted several documents in response to
the NAL, including a letter from its President, Byron T. Young, which
explains, among other things, the Company's reasons for failing to respond
to the LOI. Connect states that it had no knowledge of the Bureau's
request because it was in the process of an office move. It states that,
although an employee had apparently signed for the certified mail, the LOI
was not received by any of the Company's management. During 2006, it
states that the Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and its
reorganization plan was accepted in November 2006, with the final order
being signed in February 2007. Therefore, it states, the period from
mid-November 2006 through mid-January 2007 was frantic, as the Company
prepared to move and worked to negotiate new contracts and leases with
replacement vendors and landlords. Connect recognizes that not being
aware of the LOI may not be sufficient reason for its non-responsiveness;
however, it requests that the NAL be canceled, as a forfeiture of $4,000
would create a financial hardship for the Company.
6. 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.
7. 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 the
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.
8. In this case, Connect states that it had no knowledge of the Bureau's
LOI due to the frantic state of affairs created by its Chapter 11
Bankruptcy filing and pending move. As the Company acknowledges, however,
the lack of knowledge by its management is not sufficient reason for
failing to respond to the Bureau's directive, especially considering that
the certified mail was signed for by a company employee. Additionally, the
Company has not provided adequate justification to merit a reduction of
the forfeiture amount. After fully considering the facts and circumstances
described herein, we believe the forfeiture of $4,000 is warranted in this
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act,
and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 180(f)(4) of the Rules, Connect Paging, Inc.
d/b/a Get A Phone IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of
four thousand dollars ($4,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating
Section 503 of the Act and Section 1.80 of the Rules within thirty (30)
days of the release of this Order. If the forfeiture is not paid within
the period specified, the case may be referred to the Department of
Justice for collection pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act.
10. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communication 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, Pennsylvania 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 full payment under an installment plan should be
sent to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
5. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of the Forfeiture Order shall be
sent by first class mail and certified mail return requested to Connect
Paging, Inc. d/b/a Get A Phone at its last known address, 112 E. Seminary
Drive, Suite B, Fort Worth, Texas 76115.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Kris A. Monteith
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.
Connect Paging, Inc. d/b/a/ Get A Phone, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 22 FCC Rcd 6303 (2007) ("NAL").
See Letter from Byron T. Young, President, Connect Paging, Inc. d/b/a Get
a Phone, to Mary Greene, Deputy Division Chief, Telecommunications
Consumers Division, Enforcement Bureau (April 27, 2007).
See, e.g. http://www.epic.org/privacy/iei/.
See LOI from Marcy Greene, Deputy Division Chief, Telecommunications
Division, Enforcement Bureau, to Byron Young, President, Connect Paging,
Inc. d/b/a Get a Phone (December 8, 2006).
See supra note 4.
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. The section
provides that the Commission must assess such penalties through the use of
a written notice of apparent liability or notice of opportunity for
hearing. See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(4)(A). Here, as described above, AT&T's
actions were willful as it apparently failed to prepare the required
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.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(4)(A).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
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Federal Communications Commission DA 07-3581
Federal Communications Commission DA 07-3581